Can wineries and wine blogs be "family friendly?" Why yes, they certainly can be family friendly. However, there is no unwritten "rule" that claims wineries need to be family friendly, nor should there be expectations of wineries, and even wine blogs should be family friendly. After all, at least in the majority of the United States the drinking age of alcohol is 21 years and older.
Yes, there are certainly wineries that are family friendly, especially those with large outdoor areas making it the perfect setting for a family picnic. However, if you are not sure about the grounds and space, it is always best to call ahead as some wineries don't have the area for when a toddler gets antsy, is getting ignored, and wants to run around and act like - - well, - - a toddler. There are also safety issues to consider such as displays of wine bottles, barrels and other potential dangerous tools of the winery trade. Unfortunately, when I was working the tasting rooms, many moons ago, I was often the "baby patrol" for very thoughtless parents who were not -- "parenting."
Ambiance and respect for other visitors of the wineries needs to be considered, especially for the other guests who left their darlings with grandma, or paid a babysitter to watch their children so they could have an adult date or weekend. I have certainly been in this
situation when I was raising children. I paid many a babysitter for a much needed adult dinner date with the hubs only to have the people next to us have a rambunctious youngster crawling under our table, screaming and kicking the back of our booth, and other "childish" antics while the parents ignored their child. In that case, I could have brought our own kidlets knowing at least they would have behaved - - or else.
It's important that parents should know when to surrender to the baby who doesn't know any other way to express his/her feelings of being hungry, tired, or uncomfortable with wet pants. Parents, at that point should be thoughtful to other visitors, and most of all thoughtful to their baby that it is time to take the baby home, instead of dragging the poor little one to another winery.
In reading reviews of wineries I often come across a parent who is upset that a winery did not provide juice for their spawn. After all, the wineries main goal is to sell wine. Would you like fries with that, too? In today's litigious society, besides consumers with self-diagnosed allergies to certain foods, it becomes a liability to appease everyone, other than what the wineries are there for - - to taste and sell wine. It's bad enough when adults come into the tasting room announcing their allergies to "sulfites" and how they can "only drink white wine," while not understanding there is just as much sulfites in white wines, as there are in red wines. It should be the responsibility of the parent to pack the proper drinks and snacks and not expect the wineries to do that for them.
When it comes time for children and wine, I think there is a time and place. Being wine drinkers and raising two children, Sunday dinners were a special time when our kidlets had to clean up a bit, show their best manners, and we dined using our best china, grandmother's silver, and our wedding crystal. The kidlets had milk in their wine glasses and once in awhile they even got a jigger of wine mixed with a bit of water. This was our way of prepping the kids to appreciate nice dining. I think family outings to wineries can be a great time, but the parent really needs to emphasize the importance of manners and of their environment - - period.
Now you can write to me and call me a "baby hater," and blabber on that drunken and loud adults are worse then crying children - - yeah, yeah, yeah, and yes I agree, but nothing is worse than the parent who ignores the crying baby or the toddler who is acting like a toddler because they need their parent. It's not the children's fault, after all ...
I am reminded a few years ago when an older male wine blogger wagged a parental pointer finger at a young woman wine blogger because her writing was a bit on the sexy and suggestive side in the way she described the wines she reviewed. The "male-parental-pointer-finger-wagger" felt the woman-authored wine blog wasn't family friendly. After all, he boasted that his granddaughter, at the age of three, was learning how to read and to become a wine connoisseur. Who knew the three year-old could also read? In that case I hope grande-pa-pa also kept the kid away from The Bible, especially Song of Solomon 7:2 "Your navel is perfectly formed like a goblet filled with mixed wine ..."
And speaking of finger pointing ... For what it's worth? This blog, in particular, doesn't really care if you think it is family friendly or not.