I don’t normally give investment advice, because, well, I’m terribly unqualified to do that sort of thing. My tech-savvy and fiscally conservative wife, Sonja, takes care of most of our direct deposits and automatic bill pays largely because, prior to getting married, my idea of saving money involved a mason jar. That being said, from one wine drinker to another, there is one investment I am supremely confident recommending to virtually all who enjoy imbibing, even just on special occasions. When I made this investment for myself, I did catch a little flack for it – even from my wife. But once we began to see the dividends, she quickly changed her tune.
The pocket breathalyzer can be purchased from a number of different companies, ranging in price from $24.99 to well over $100.00. Mine, the BACtrack S35, lists at $41.56 on Amazon right now, though I picked it up with a Living Social deal for about half of that last year. On our latest tasting/buying trip to California, we rented a VW Bug and enjoyed our long drives through the gorgeous countryside of Napa and Sonoma counties. While there, we stopped at somewhere between five and nine wineries each day, depending on our mood, and each day we put to use our new investment. In this way, even when one of us would taste and spit all day, we could be confident we hadn’t made any mistakes, and that neither we nor those around us were at risk.
Now, I understand that for some these things might carry something of a stigma, but the reality is that the legal limit in all states, except maybe Michigan, is .08, or 8%. What I think most people don’t fully understand is just how little alcohol it takes to get to .08. For my wife, who is rather petite but no stranger to a glass of wine, two glasses in two hours gets her pretty close to the limit. For me, well, it’s typically more than that, but hard to measure – especially when pouring scotch (which I measure in “fingers”) or ordering mixed drinks in a bar where you’re not sure if the bartender is measuring by the jigger or simply eyeballing in their hurry. Other factors, such as medications or not getting enough sleep, can impact your BAC as well. No matter what or where I have a drink, I’m much more comfortable being able to get an accurate read on such an important measure, rather than “guesstimating,” as many do.
So often, I hear people say “I’m fine to drive,” simply because they feel okay. Knowing that Driving Under the Influence charges carry huge fines, loss of license, and sometimes even mandatory incarceration on the first offense, this just isn’t a risk Sonja or I — or anyone else for that matter — should be willing to take. Infinitely worse than embarrassment and punishment, of course, would be injuring or killing someone else because of my own poor judgment. With this in mind, we take the BACtrack everywhere we go, hold one another accountable for using it, and thereby dramatically reduce the risk of making a potentially lethal and irreparable mistake. From our blog to our social outings, wine is a part of our lives. We enjoy it, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But for around the same cost of a nice estate bottled Cab, we don’t have to worry about how much we’ve had to drink. I don’t have to be able to balance my own checkbook to know that that’s a smart investment.