Wine Tasting and Driving…ways to stay in control

Ok guys, so let’s talk drinking and driving because I get asked this a lot – it is a touchy subject.

With all the wine farms I am visiting, I am seeing more and more people climbing into the driving seat of cars after a full day of drinking wine. This makes my nerves run wild because you are not only endangering yourself but you are also endangering others on the road. You may feel completely fine but how do you know for sure?


With this in mind, here are my top 5 tips to ensure you stay in control of your blood alcohol count when it comes to driving…



I hear a lot of people say ag, I will have water and food and this will sober me up. Well sorry to break the news to you, but the only thing that lowers your blood alcohol count is TIME – i.e. stop drinking for a while. My rule of thumb is that for every 125ml of wine, you should at least wait an hour for it to process through your system. Even then, you need to be very careful and consider if you should be driving at all.


Even after giving yourself some time, it is always best to make absolutely sure that you are definitely not over the limit and you feel totally ok to drive. It varies from person to person and you never really know if you are totally sober or not. I make use of a handy tool which you can keep in your car.

It’s a digital Breathalyzer test!  I bought this baby for under R1000. You can buy one here: 

Simply switch it on and wait for it to load before blowing.

I had spent around 4 hours at a wine farm prior to driving. The last 1.5 hours, I stopped drinking whilst my friend carried on in order to carry out this test.

My reading was just 0.01 which meant I was well under the limit and safe to drive. I also felt very capable. The limit in South Africa is 0.05g per 100ml or BAC% (Blood Alcohol Count).

My friend also tried out the test.

She was over the limit – in fact spot on the limit at 0.05. Note that the icon on the device alerts you to NOT drive.

It’s never nice to be caught – you WILL spend 24 hours in jail and you WILL get a criminal record. Even worse, what if you were in a fatal accident involving yourself or others.


It’s that simple, and it is probably one of the best options out there. If you know you are going to be drinking, rather just arrange to get to your farm and back with an Uber. Just download the app and call for a cab.

If you are going with a group of friends, then get an Uber XL and all chip in towards the cost. It works out a lot more economical. If you are on your own, it can work out to be quite pricey though (especially with longer drives) which is why I really like to make use of option 4.



Did you know that most banks and insurance companies offer their clients FREE take me home services? A take me home service can be arranged prior to your collection time. Simply call the service and tell them to pick you up at a certain time and location when you would like to return home. They will bring two drivers. One to drive your car and another to take their vehicle back.

I encourage you to check it out. I get 6 free rides a year with FNB and a few more through my insurance company. Use these opportunities! There are also services such as Good Fellas and Scooter Angels which are really very well priced!

Another option is to get a designated driver friend who will join you for the day but will not touch a drop of alcohol.



Now here’s a thought – a great way to keep your alcohol count in check is to not swallow the wine, simply taste and then “gooi”. That’s what the spittoons are for after all! Do the tasting, enjoy your day out, buy some wine, get home and then enjoy your wine at home.



Enjoy your wine adventures but be safe doing so!


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