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Children drinking wine at school

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

DID YOU KNOW ? Until 1956, schoolchildren were regularly sipping a glass of wine during the lunch break.

schoolchildren drinking wine


There was a time when alcohol was allowed in French school canteens. Until 1956, it was not uncommon to see schoolchildren regularly sipping a glass of white wine during the lunch break. They usually left for school with their books and pencils, of course, but also with half a liter of white wine or beer in their school bags...

According to these INA archives, the circular did not apply to all children at the time. It only applied to pupils under 14. On the menu: "balanced" meals, fruit, vegetables, and also a compulsory glass of milk for all boarders.

Later, the government worked to ban alcohol in canteens in a country that was very attached to its wine tradition and the "benefits" of alcohol for all. It was not until 1981 that the consumption of alcohol in secondary schools was banned.

schoolchildren drinking wine


At the time, this decision was not welcomed by everyone. First of all, by the winegrowers themselves, who were convinced that giving wine to young people was a way of ensuring the loyalty of future adults.

But also by parents, who were told that alcohol helps children stay healthy, promotes their growth and stimulates their intellect. So some parents, suspicious of this sudden change of viewpoint, continued for a long time to give their children a small glass of wine in the morning, just to get them in shape for the day!



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