Sipping in Wine Country is gearing up with events like Winter Wineland this Saturday and Sunday and the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Jan. 29th.

Winter Wineland ( is just the kick off of the Wine Country yearly calendar. There are plenty of spring events like the ever-popular Wine Road Barrel Tasting, chi chi summer events like the Auction Napa Valley and fall events like the Sonoma County Harvest Fair to celebrate the almighty grape.

So what’s your strategy – beyond ordering the tickets and scheduling the sitter? What’s your designated driver strategy?

A friend told me she and her husband simply share the DD title by taking turns … although on one occasion, they decided later in the evening they should both drink what they wanted and ultimately called a cab. Other times they pay the loot for a limo ride through Wine Country so they don’t have worry about imbibing too much.

Another friend said she’s careful to spit. Yet another has this plan of attack. She drinks a glass of wine and chases it with a glass of water, keeping that pattern going all night. Others I spoke to about this say that this is by no means a fool-proof plan.

We live in a wine culture, a place where wine is so celebrated that you’ll find it everywhere … a Healdsburg shop sells jewelry featuring capsules of wine and a Santa Rosa car wash sells upscale wine gadgets and books. Wine is everywhere.

During events like Winter Wineland, the California Highway Patrol has more check points and people serving in the tasting rooms have been trained to keep an eye out for those who have had one too many. (For instance, a tasting room staffer at Ridge had to boot out some party revelers at last year’s Wine Road Barrel Tasting.)

Is there more the CHP or tasting room staffers can do?

We are immersed in a wine culture with a roll out of events that you would never find in a place like Des Moines Iowa … so what’s your designated driver strategy?