My parents took me to Burgundy when I was eleven years old. While my classmates were playing baseball and swimming that summer, I was tasting wine with my father in damp Côte du Beaune cellars. Admittedly, this was a rather unorthodox introduction to wine, but it prepared me for a lifetime of balanced enjoyment.

At home, there was wine on the table every night at dinner. If I wanted to taste it, I could.
As I grew up, the fact that I was exposed to wine all during my formative years, brought me to young adulthood as someone who never had to sneak alcohol.

In college I was elected social chairman of my fraternity. I was in charge of purchasing beer, wine and spirits. And while my compatriots had a definite tendency to overindulge, I was the picture of measured sobriety (most of the time). And here I am, the editor of a magazine focused on wine and spirits.

So, the point of this exposition? I’m not trying to brag, I want to illustrate the fact that a sensible and deliberate approach to alcohol by parents and caregivers creates an adult with a mature, measured attitude towards drinking.

Forbidding young people to touch alcohol until they reach the age of twenty-one is counter productive and just plain stupid. If an 18-year-old is of the age to vote and die for his or her country, then this young adult is certainly capable of handling alcohol.

There is a new bill recently filed in the Louisiana senate: Bill #429, which would allow 19- and 20-year olds to buy and consume alcohol if they receive certification and parental consent. “Louisiana Sen. Eric LaFleur believes because it’s forbidden to drink under 21, teens are more likely to do it. LaFleur says lowering the age will remove the allure for minors and help lower binge drinking on college campuses, which sometimes turns deadly.”

This is a start. The brutally restrictive prohibition against alcohol for people under the age of twenty-one should be abolished. Even 18 is an arbitrary age, but it’s preferable to twenty-one. The editors of Tasting Panel are unanimous on this issue.

Congratulations to Sen. LaFleur. Maybe that’s why they named a Bordeaux chateau after him.