Malia Llerena happily sips chardonnay, zinfandel, Champagne and merlot. She knows red wine goes in the larger glasses and Champagne gets the long, skinny flutes. And of course, she can identify a corkscrew. After all, she's already 5 years old.
They say the girl's first coherent sentence was, "may I have more Champagne, please?"
Naturally, there's a whole load of negative response to this. Parents and child health groups are up in arms because this kid is being fed a neurotoxin at such a young age.
But as Athens-based Greek food writer Diane Kochilas points out, "offering a sip of something that is sanctioned culturally, religiously and even scientifically in the Mediterranean is hardly akin to setting a child on the path to alcoholism," she says.
In fact what the naysayers apparently fail to realise is that this girl will probably NEVER go binge drinking. Malia will never see alcohol as a forbidden, adult thing and thus be tempted to break the rules to spite the older generation, the way most kids do nowadays. She'll always do it in moderation, so hurray (although five years old may be pushing it a little).
On a larger scale, the UK government annoys me when they try to come up with more ways to control the youthful generation of the population. "All the yobs are drinking more so here's an idea, let's make it even more hidden and even more 'not allowed' so that they won't want it any more, and let's ignore the fact that similar ideas started the problem in the first place."
The UK has a very big problem with binge drinking, and we need to find a real solution for it: one that doesn't involve making dangerous products look more attractive to the sort of people who thrive on spiting authority.