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Update 23/11/10: BC breathalysers are being recalibrated to o.o6. The law about 0.05 is unchanged so blow 0.06+ and you will be subject to new penalties. What happens between 0.05 and 0.06 is unclear but very much depends on the discretion of the police officer. I have checked with local RCMP and even they have no clear guidelines on this situation.

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Now the new drinking driving 0.05 rules are here, it is even more important to know about alcohol consumption and blood alcohol count (BAC). Exceeding the new lower level has serious consequences if you are caught and here on Bowen our local RCMP detachment seems to have become extra zealous.

First, this link will open the Official BC BAC chart. With this you, in theory, can calculate whether your consumption will take you over the 0.05 limit and how long before you’ll be back under it. However, there is a HIDDEN TRAP if you rely on this solely.

Note that the chart is based on standard drinks. For the record a standard drink is reckoned as either a) 12oz beer or b) 1.5oz of spirits or c) 5 oz of wine (roughly equivalent to one fifth of a standard 750ml bottle). However, for the purposes of setting standard drink sizes the servings make an assumption about alcohol levels in each serving. For beer that is 5%, spirits 40% and wine 12%.

The hidden problem is that your actual drink at standard serving size may contain considerably more or less alcohol than given in these charts. In some cases this may mean you are consuming more alcohol than you think.

Consider the following:

Most spirits and beer servings contain exactly the alcohol prescribed in the standard servings. Some beers especially IPAs and specialty imports can have more alcohol though. For instance Quebec’s Fin du Monde has 9% so one glass of that is nearly the equivalent of 2 beers.

Wine, however is a different matter altogether. Looking around our store I’d estimate the average bottle of wine runs to about 13%, no big deal – but variations can be significant. Those big Australian Shiraz can often come in at 15% or above, so one glass is the equivalent of 1.25 standard servings in alcohol content. If you are a 125lb female just one glass of this wine will push you to 0.05%. A 175lb male drinking two of these would be well advised to not drive for 2 hours from the time of the first drink.

So what can you do?

1. Ask the server what the ABV (alcohol by volume) on the bottle is and factor that in to your calculations. The ABV is displayed on every bottle. If you are a bar or restaurant you should be considering adding ABV information to your drinks lists.

2. Try wines that have less alcohol. For instance the very popular Dr. Loosen Riesling has only 8.5% ABV (most Rieslings run between 8 and 11%). That’s just about 1/3 less than the standard measure so not only is it reasonably safe to have one glass – at any weight – and drive straight away, for most it will allow you to have a couple and not run the risk of blowing over o.o5 (but check your weight against the BAC chart first). Another suggestion is one of our best selling white wines, the Gazela Vinho Verde that has only 9% ABV.

Nowadays you really have to be very scrupulous about not only how much you drink but what you drink. There is precious little margin of error at 0.05 and the Holiday Season roadchecks are coming up fast so there’ll be even more chances to lose your car and license. Your best choice at any time is simply not to drink and drive. Take Transit, a cab or nominate a DD from your party.

If you are in our store please ask us to recommend good lower alcohol wines for your party or event.

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Just In

Domaine Marcilhac CuvĂ©e Prestige – super French red from Cahors the spiritual home of Malbec. Tasted this last month and thought it ideal for Malbec fans interested in expanding their horizons. 100% Cot noir (malbec). Produced and bottled en domaine.

Ironstone Reserve Rous Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel – Tasted this at the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) tasting and was simply the best of the eight super wines presented in my opinion. This is a single vineyard product produced from vines planted in 1909. Perfect Christmas present for the Zin Fan – not widely available either.

Bleasdale Langhorne Crossing Generations Shiraz – A rich, cellarable Aussie red. Will be opening a bottle for tasting Christmas week.

Will have lots of new wines at end of this week and in next 3 weeks too. Swing by and check out our selection

Next free tasting is this weekend, Saturday November 28 2-5:30pm in store

Bleasdale Winery Portfolio tasting

The Bleasdale Winery produces wine in Langhorne Creek, South Australia. The Potts family have owned and made wine there for 5 generations. I had the pleasure of meeting Robbie Potts, brand ambassador and brother of the current winemaker, at a wine tasting in September. True salt of the earth character – one could easily visualise a bush hat with corks swinging from it as his normal attire 🙂

Planned for the tasting will be the following:

Chardonnay/Riesling blend (white)
Langhorne Crossing Shiraz/Cabernet/Malbec blend (red) – this is a popular wine in our store
Malbec – Although the winery has used Malbec in its blends for some years this is their first single varietal wine produced from this grape. I scored 2 cases out of 28 shipped to BC. Rivals Argentinian Malbecs and at under $20 and well worth trying.
Frank Potts – named after the founder of the winery, its 89% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot/Merlot
Generations Shiraz – this is their icon wine – gorgeous.

All these wines are great value across a spectrum of style and price. Hope we’ll see you Saturday

Coming Up

Malbec Taste-Off on Saturday December 5th, featuring 3 Malbecs (so remember to make notes on the Bleasdale). Two will be from Argentina and one from Cahors in France – the spiritual home of Malbec. We will be sending an eGrapevine reminder next week on this one.

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