Finding a sitter can be hard for parents who want to enjoy some wine tasting. Many restaurants and even breweries that serve alcohol allow children, as long as they aren’t sitting at the bar. While you might already know that minors can’t be served alcohol, you may wonder if there’s any harm in allowing your kids to tag along on your next wine tasting outing.
Are children allowed in wine tasting rooms?
Many wine tasting rooms allow children in the tasting area. However, always be sure to check the specific requirements of the tasting rooms you plan to visit to see if there are any special requirements for where they are allowed to sit or play.
Here are a few things to consider if you are looking to bring your kids along to your next outing, or where you might look for some family friendly wine tasting experiences.
Wine Tasting Etiquette with Children
There are a lot of people that debate the moral dilemma of allowing children to be present where alcohol is being served. All parents need to consider what they deem to be acceptable environments for their children and understand that there will be others who don’t agree, whether they themselves are parents or not.
For those parents that take no exceptions to their children being around alcohol, they may find their wine tasting experience to be more enjoyable by having their children come along. While many wine tasting rooms allow children to be present, not all do. While planning your outing, you should research the tasting rooms you plan to visit. They may note on their website if they allow children, but if not, check review websites like Yelp, or even call up the tasting room yourself to confirm. Some tasting rooms may have special events where they may ask that children stay home, even if they are normally allowed.
Even if children are allowed, consider whether your children will be sufficiently entertained during your visit and have their own space to hang out while you conduct your tastings. Some wine tasting rooms may only have a bar where they pour the wine, without any other seating. In this environment, children may grow bored or restless standing around. Other patrons may become annoyed if children are taking up room at the serving area.
Make sure that your children have an enjoyable time too by bringing toys or games that would keep them entertained without causing too much noise or distraction for other patrons. Also make sure that you adequately supervise them. Drinking alcohol should always be done in moderation, especially if you need to keep an eye on kids. Don’t allow yourself to become so distracted that you don’t notice if a child has wandered off.
Remember that wine tasting is an adult activity and most tasting rooms will not be fun for children unless they have their own entertainment. You may also consider bribery, ahem, a reward system to encourage them to behave, such as a stop for ice cream, or a dessert if your wine tasting room serves food.
While you might not mind having children around while wine tasting and believe your children may be adequately behaved to bring along, remember that other patrons want to enjoy their time as well. There is no way to control the behavior of other patrons. For example, other patrons may drink excessively, use explicit, foul, or adult language that may not be appropriate for children. You should not ask or expect them to modify their behavior just because you chose to bring your children along.
As parents, remember that you know your children the best. If you think they might be too squirmy, rambunctious, or distracting to sit for an hour without disturbing other patrons, plan to leave them at home. Instead, find a winery that might have enough entertainment to allow them to run loose (with reasonable supervision of course) at a winery that allows playing on the lawn or grounds, on a playground, or with board games or lawn games provided by the winery.
Finally, consider wine tasting experiences that may include tours of the facility, such as where the grapes are grown, wine cellars or caves, or how the wine is made, such as crushing, fermenting, or bottling the wine. Just consider how long the tour might be and how long your child might be interested in following along or walking.
Just remember that it’s not reasonable to expect other patrons or wine tasting room staff to cater to you and your children just because you wanted to bring them along. Wine tasting should be an enjoyable experience for everyone!
Family Friendly Winery Ideas
Many wineries and wine tasting rooms may cater to high class clientele, parties, or adult groups, but a growing trend in the industry includes catering to children as well.
Wineries throughout California have started developing entertainment for children and families.
Here’s a short list:
- Acorn Winery in Sonoma has legos, crayons, and cornhole
- Alpha Omega in Napa offers a Napa themed coloring book and crayons
- Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar in Paso Robles provides cornhole and giant Jenga.
- Castello de Amorosa in Napa is a replica castle that’s fun to explore and includes peacocks and farm animals
- Chateau Ste. Michelle near Seattle, WA offers juice, crackers, and coloring books
- Domaine Artefact in Escondido has farm animals that children can visit
- Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma has a children’s library and board games
- Kendall-jackson Wine Estate in Sonoma County has a demonstration garden, chicken coop, and demonstration beehive to check out
- Longshadow Ranch in Temecula has many farm animals that children can say hi to
- Maragas Wineryin Culver, OR offers lawn games for children, weather permitting
- Navarro Vineyards in Mendocino Valley provides juice tasting from Pinot Noir or Gewürztraminer grapes to allow kids to be a part of the fun
- Retzlaff Vineyards in Livermore has large toy tractors that kids can play on