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Is it wrong to take your kid to the wine store?

Erin Zammett Ruddy


Alex is very familiar with our local wine and liquor store. Mostly because they give out Dum Dums to little kids and Dum Dums are like gold to Alex. Also because it’s big and shiny and new and has a machine that lifts a guy up and down to stack cases. And because I let him hold the basket. And, I’m not gonna lie, we go there a lot. Sometimes when I drive by, he says, “Mom, can we go to Bottles & Cases, pleeeeeeeease?”


I never thought anything of bringing him with me—going to the wine store is just another errand to us. Like dropping off prescriptions or picking up dry cleaning. But when we were there on Sunday picking up some bottles for a dinner with friends, I felt like I was getting strange looks. I felt this way the weekend before, too. It could be because my kid is loud and talks nonstop. “Mom, do you need a red? What about a white? Can I push the cart? Do you like this kind, mom? Can I touch them? Oops, sorry I banged into you mom.” Whatever the reason, I felt kind of judged. And I hate that.


It’s not like I’m feeding my kid alcohol. He sees us drink it sometimes, sure. He knows the difference between a martini and a beer and a glass of red, which I suppose is a little odd for a three year old, but it’s a part of our life. Alex knows that we like good food (we play Top Chef almost every night and he’s gotten pretty good) and we like good wine. End of story. And, just to be clear, it’s not like we ask him to fetch us a beer or give him sips of anything. He knows that wine is for adults. At the same time, I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking that alcohol is taboo so the fact that they see it in their own home—and at the superstore—does not bother me.


I will say that the people behind the counter at the wine store seem to love Alex (he usually walks right up and says, Hi, can I please have a lollipop?” and then acts as if it’s Christmas morning when they hand him the bucket to pick one). Maybe those customers eyeing me were just grumpy on Sunday because it was so damn cold. Honestly it wasn’t so much that they were giving me looks as they were not smiling the way people usually do when they see/hear Alex. I’m seriously hoping this is just my own weird self-consciousness talking but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you ever bring your kids to the wine store? Do they know you drink? Will my laissez faire attitude change as my kids get older and more impressionable about this stuff?


Please tell me there’s nothing wrong with this scenario because I was really hoping to take Alex out to the vineyards on the North Fork this summer! Thoughts?