Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1563 into law Wednesday, enacting legislation that will allow students under 21 enrolled in viticulture and enology programs at four‑year universities to taste, but not consume wine as part of their educational experiences outside of the classroom.
The law will now include grape‑growing areas and wine production facilities as allowable places for supervised students to sip and expectorate wine. This means students in these programs will now have the opportunity to better understand flavors and identify flaws in wines while out on field trip trainings in vineyards and wineries.
WSU has enthusiastically supported the bill since its first hearing in January, testifying that legislation such as this will improve the educational experience of enology and viticulture students.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Bill Jenkin, R‑Prosser, and also was supported by the Washington Wine Institute and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. It amends law approved in 2015 that allowed minors to taste but not consume wine in the classroom setting.
(Follow the latest legislative developments at the WSU Government Relations Newsbeat blog.)