Should You Let Your Kids Try Wine?

When my son James was 10 months old, he was baptized into my religion. The ceremony took place in Bordeaux, and I performed it myself, rubbing a small amount of 2000 Château Pétrus on his gums. Yes, the kid started well. Since the age of 4, he has been allowed to dip his finger into my glass pretty much whenever he wants. (He says he especially likes Champagne; I’ve told him that’s what his allowance is for.) All along, I’ve assured myself that my wife and I were being a sensible, forward-thinking parents—that if we didn’t make wine completely off-limits and instead permitted  James, now 10, and his 7-year-old sister, Ava, to satisfy their curiosity about it (within reason, of course), they’d be less likely to abuse alcohol later in life. Recently, though, I’ve started to wonder if that’s really true. Does early exposure promote responsible drinking, or is it better to treat alcohol as forbidden fruit?


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