If you are visiting Hermanus, chances are you will be enjoying the “fruits” of the Hemel-en-Aarde, Botrivier and Stanford wine routes. And since most of the wine estates aren’t within walking distance, it would be wise to make sure you don’t exceed the legal limit for alcohol consumption while driving. For non-locals who might not be aware, the Overstrand Municipality has a very clearly communicated no-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving, there are regular roadblocks all over town, and it is absolutely not worth it to “risk it”. So to help you out, we put together a handy list of four ways to practice responsible drinking when visiting our beautiful wine estates.

Know your limit

It is strongly recommended that, if you plan to drive, you refrain from drinking any alcohol at all. But, we all know that sometimes, having a drink before driving home is part of life and that there’s a big difference between having one glass of wine with dinner and drunk driving. For this reason, it is important that you know your own limit. Women metabolise alcohol differently from men and often get drunk faster. If you’re taking antihistamines or pain killers, these can make you drowsy and influence your reaction time when combined with alcohol.

To calculate how many units of alcohol you’ve consumed, multiply the volume of the drink (in millilitres) by its percentage alcohol, by volume, and divide by 1000 to determine the number of units of alcohol in the drink you had. E.g. 750 millilitres of wine at 12 percent volume would be calculated 750 x 12/1000 = 9.0 units. It’s recommended you don’t consume more than two units per hour.

Eat while drinking

The body metabolises alcohol slower and more steadily when it’s ingested alongside food (as opposed to before or after food). So, if you’re planning to do some wine tasting, but know that you will be over your limit after a glass or two, make sure you’re prepared. Travel with snacks or plan your tasting schedule so you’ll visit a wine estate with a restaurant around the time the first hunger pang hits you. We totally recommend enjoying the platters at La Vierge’s restaurant with your wine tasting – they make a fantastic accompaniment!

Taste your wine

This one might come as a surprise to some. But it turns out one good way to make sure you pace yourself when drinking wine, especially, is to value quality of quantity. Learn to appreciate wine, teach yourself to identify the flavours and learn about the process involved in making exceptional quality wines. That way you will be less tempted to just pour it down your throat without a second thought. Also, when you visit a wine estate, ask the tasting room assistant for a glass or jug of water (some supply jugs of tap water for free) and drink some water each time you switch between wines – even if you do it just to clean your palate so you can better appreciate the flavours in the wine.

Designated driver

The best way to make sure you’re not driving while under the influence is (surprise, surprise!) to not drive at all. If you’re travelling with friends, take turns to be the designated driver so the lot doesn’t fall to one unlucky person. Alternatively, pretend to be a VIP and get a professional to drive you around. Luckily, this is not too hard when visiting the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, since there’s more than one cab company in Hermanus to do the driving while you indulge in all the fantastic wines on offer. Give Cabbies or Tuk Tuk Taxis a call next time you unexpectedly need a ride after enjoying a drink or three.

Even better than a designated driver or a cab company, is a solution that is both fun and practical. Try Hermanus Wine Hoppers – a safari-style hop-on hop-off wine tour that is definitely one of the best ways to enjoy the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. You get to drink as much as you want while taking in the beauty of your surroundings without a care in the world about driving yourself from wine estate to wine estate.

Visit La Vierge

What could possibly be better than sitting back on our deck taking in breathtaking views of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley with a glass of Jezebelle or Seduction in your hand? Our fantastic team of tasting room assistantscan’t wait to introduce you to our award-winning wines. And if you are looking for gifts to take home to your family and friends, you can purchase a bottle or two straight from our Tasting Room. We look forward to welcoming you here!