GIOVENTU » Wine on the school curriculum for 6 to 13 year olds?

Wine on the school curriculum for 6 to 13 year olds?

Italian children aged between six and 13 might be taught about Italian wine as part of their school curriculum.


The proposal, put forward by Dario Stefàno, from Italy's Left Ecology and Freedom party, has been laid out in a draft bill and it would see schoolchildren spending one hour a week learning about Italy's wine, the same amount of time children spend studying music and religion. Wine could be alternatively incorporated as modules into existing subjects such as biology, history and geography.


If the bill becomes law Italian children will learn about the genesis, the mythology and history of wine in the Euro-Mediterranean culture and also Italian geography of the vines; vine cultivation, production of grapes and the winemaking process.


According to Stefàno Italy has always been the country of wine and the county's history is inter-tangled with that of it. Wine is a defining feature of the country and there is not one region in Italy that doesn't make it. Puglia, Veneto, Lazio and Umbria have already expressed an interest in the initiative.


The bill is still in its early stages and will need to complete a long legislative journey through parliament before becoming law, but the proposal has already stirred resentment and reactions. Andrea Ghiselli, medical director of the Institute of Research for National Food and Nutrition pointed out that wine is an important part of the GDP but also a potential risk to health, being, like all alcoholic beverages, a carcinogen, therefore, in his opinion, the only way to talk to kids is to explain that it is harmful to their health.

Stefàno's program provides instead an account of religious and social rituals connected to wine, following the example of Latin America, where folk music is taught as an element of identity, or France where wine has been studied at school for years and the problems of abuse of alcohol by adolescents have decreased. France started teaching history of wine in 1991 with the Evin Law, which banned the advertising of wines and spirits on one hand, but on the other hand made available resources to tell the wine culture in schools, with the result that the rate of alcoholism, which in the 80's was very high in the country, has halved in a few years.


Stefàno told the newspaper “Il Fatto Quotidiano” that the plan doesn't mean encouraging children to drink wine and it has been shown that knowledge creates responsible drinkers. Therefore, wine will be just an extra subject that will enrich the student's education.


According to Stefàno another reason why wine should be taught at school is to bring it back onto Italian tables. In Italy the habit of consuming wine at home has been abandoned. Teenagers around the age of 15 consume alcohol at least 1 time per week, but outside the home, and they do it to get drunk, while for the Mediterranean culture wine is drunk for its convivial pleasure and its unique taste.


Other critics are about the choice of wine as the “unitary element” while there are many others worthy of consideration, such as oil, tomato and theatrical representations, as for example Melodrama, just to mention a few which are less controversial and equally ignored by the school curriculum.


Giulia Lombardo

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