The Wandering Wino Blog

Should children be allowed in wine tasting rooms? They are not allowed to sit at any regular bar legally. They are not legally allowed in casinos. Those places say 21 years and older. A grocery store cannot even allow anyone under 21 years old to handle alcoholic beverages in the store. Yet it is legal for a child or infant to be in a tasting room.

I struggle with this question. I am a parent of a 2 year angel. Every now and again she reminds me that she is in fact 2 years old. My wife and I spent many years traveling the wine road before our daughter was born. On occasion we all go together. On those trips, it is always very different as my wife often takes her outside to walk around, look at sights, etc. Is it right? Am I being selfish?

There was a time in my life when I was not sure children would be part of it. Now I can't imagine life without her. Prior to her birth, I have been in wine tasting rooms and  have seen the occasional child or infant. When my wife and I discussed, we had no idea what to think; good or bad. 

Something thankfully that we have often seen is well behaved parents. Yes, that's right. Just like the dog whisper always says the owner needs training, so do parents, that includes me. In some cases it is not the child acting out but a parent that simply did not get the DVD box set on how to parent with common sense. I did not walk on water these past 2 years as a dad by the way, but I do seek out wisdom from many smarter than I. 

What we have typically seen and appreciated is when a child becomes challenging for whatever reason, that the parent leaves the tasting room with the child. This is called how not to screw it up for everyone else; and thank you for buying those DVD's, good investment!

There are times we have our daughter with a family member so we can go out on the winery trail. It is freeing and much more predictable for our day. When we do this, as a parent I have an understanding for when other people's children can become difficult. However I do not want to hear the screaming, crying, acting out, and whining of any child when I am getting my wine tasting mo-jo for the day. So to all you parents that take your child/children with you, I do not judge you for bringing them. It doesn't bother me in the least. Maybe our kids could go play with each other.

I have to say I am fortunate that most parents I have encountered in the tasting rooms seem to "get it" and walk out with their child. I hope your experiences are similar and I still do not know the answer to this question of it being right or wrong. I do think each family is unique and has differing personalities, behaviors, and values. I do it on occasion, so I guess I lean towards good parenting first, followed by consideration for others. Long way for me to simply say, yeah it's OK with some gray area's, just don't ruin my day or anyone else's for it. Here is an alternative view in quoting a Blunt friend: "Kids don't belong in a tasting room. If they did, there would be a @#$%ing swing set out front." 

You choose which is best and have fun!


  • Shoshannah
    Posted Thursday 26 May 2011 03:30
    Love this article. I wish this attitude was held in all outer settings. I love networking with parents so I can do fun things like this. The key is totally be prepared. Have the bag full of goodies, pack a picnic, allow time for naps. I've never expected the world to accommodate my children. I do however expect that it is my job to accommodate them to the world. Cheers!
  • Lorraine Kane
    Posted Monday 19 September 2011 06:21
    When I was in medical school, we learned that the first rule of pediatrics is that kids are not just little adults.This rules applies in real life as well.Behavior that would lead me to suspect a personality disorder in an adult is perfectly acceptable in a toddler.I wish the world was more tolerant.Some behaviors are best ignored and only the parent knows the situation. when my kids were small I found the most intolerant adults were the ones most removed from the lives of children and therefore the ones who most needed exposure to the richness of sensory simulation provided by kids.So I say bring on the whining while wining and with it bring the smiles and giggles.Our winery has a box of toys and juice ready to greet your little ones.
  • Linda Mauck
    Posted Tuesday 11 October 2011 20:19
    Casa Cassera Tasting Room in Buellton has a play area with toys and books, and a little fence and gate. Children can play there, if they want. If they disturb, the parents should leave. I have seen a successful tasting and children are comfortable. Some frequent visitors there have children who love to go there.
  • Susan Oransky
    Posted Tuesday 11 October 2011 20:54
    Great Artical. We took our kids and grandkids wine tasting in a limo through Paso Robles. The driver, Julio, was amazing with the girls and they had a ball in the tasting rooms. We took turns sitting in the limo with the baby while she naped and one or the other would take the 5 yr old out of a tasting room if she got bored. Its all about paying attention to the feelings of the kids as well as the adults around them. This goes for every public place - not just wine tasting rooms.
  • Carol
    Posted Sunday 08 January 2012 05:44
    Like your article and discussion about the dilemma of whether to bring children to wine tasting or not. I love it when young children are enjoying themselves, playing nicely, even talking away on what ever subject that is going through their head at that time. Those are golden moments for a parent to watch and I would take them where ever I can find them. So if it is at wine tasting fine with me. But if they start screaming, running around or have a temper tantrum then it is time for a parent exercise a lesson from the DVD you mentioned and remove the child until they can calm down.

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