(but no driving)

Drinking and driving is never a good idea. Summer is here and we’re donning our glad rags and setting course for the Winelands. It’s not hard to imagine the driving down one of the wine country’s many roads, passing vine-covered hills with the dramatic Stellenbosch Mountains towering in the background. On the tasting deck at one of our favourite wine farms, we sip deliciously cold Chardonnay while drinking in the atmosphere and maybe nibbling some cheese and charcuterie. These are the experiences that make beautiful memories …

Hey, stop – slam on the brakes! Drinking and driving should never be combined. It’s essential to plan a sober ride in advance of your wine explorations. The alternative could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, of pedestrians, or of other drivers and passengers nearby. If you get 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?

We asked one of our favourite wine bloggers, The Wine Girl Cape Town, to share her top tips for enjoying wine tasting and staying safe.


Since alcohol strips water from the body, an easy way to prevent dehydration is to keep the H2O flowing throughout the day. Alternate a glass of wine with a glass of water. A bonus is that drinking plenty of water is likely to reduce your chances of waking up with a headache. If crackers or some other snacks are offered, make sure you eat something. But beware,
this is not a substitute for lunch. 



A lot of people say “I’ll 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 – and that means, stop drinking for a while. My rule of thumb is that for every 125ml of wine, you should wait for at least an hour to let it pass through your system. Even then, you need to be very careful and consider if you should be driving at all.



Now here’s a thought: a great way to keep your alcohol count in check is to not swallow the wine. Simply taste it and then gooi. That’s what the spittoons are there for. Do the tasting, enjoy your day out, buy some wine, get home safely and then drink your wine at home.




A great option is to appoint a friend as the  designated driver who will join you for the day but won’t touch a drop of alcohol. 

#SoberStellies is designed to reward designated drivers for allowing their friends to have a good wine-time in the company of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, while they remain sober and make sure that everyone gets home safely. 

This campaign reinforces Stellenbosch Wine Routes’ responsible drinking and driving policy. In order to encourage this ethical behaviour, the wine routes are offering these designated drivers incentives so that they, too, can have a good time at a later stage. On the day, designated drivers can enjoy a free soft drink or water and will be provided with a VIP passport or badge that will give him or her access to special perks. Changing the perception of the designated driver’s role in Stellenbosch will encourage more individuals to be responsible, sober drivers for their friends. 



It’s that simple, and another great option. If you know you are going to be drinking, rather arrange to get to the farm of your choice and back with an Uber. Just download the app and call for a cab. Or make use of a take-me-home service, which most banks and insurance companies offer to their clients free of charge. 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 location and the time when you would like to return home. They will bring two drivers, one to drive your car and another to take their vehicle back.

So … enjoy your wine adventures, but be safe doing so!


For more information about #SoberStellies, including a list of participating wine farms as well as designated driver rewards, visit Driver.wineroute.co.za

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