Wineries and Drinking & Driving

Wineries and Drinking & Driving
By: CJ Cassidy

T

he wine industry continues to flourish across the heartland
,
and in
S
outheast
M
issouri
,
several new wineries have cropped up in just the past few years.

B
ut
is that increase in business also contributing to more people driving under the influence?

P

olice in
P
erry and
S
te.
G
enevieve counties have definetely seen higher numbers of drinking and driving accidents and arrests over the last several years.

T
hey don't blame local wineries
,
but now police hope they can work hand in hand with those wine makers to make sure you're safe when you're out on the road.

"F

all is the busiest time of the yea
r, " Jennifer Johnson with
the
C
rown
V
alley
W
inery
says. It's
one of several vineyards that dot the
S
outheast
M
issouri countryside.

T
he tourist attractions certainly boost the local economy
,
but over indulging on what the wineries offer can create problems on the roads.

"W

e've had several car wrecks on roads coming and going
;
not just customers but employees
as well, and
we have hilly country roads people from city aren't accustomed to driving o
n them," Johnson says.

"W

hen you have several new alcohol establishments in
the
area
you are
going to have
an
increase
d number
of people drinking and driving
. There's a
lot more people in
the
area from
S
t.
L
ouis
, and
other areas
that
weren't here before
," Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper Michele Coon says.

A
s troopers step up their patrols to keep drunk drivers off the streets
,
some wine makers are also stepping up to the
plate
offering incentives to designated drivers.

"T

hey can put on a sticker show they're the designated driver get a voucher for four soft drinks or water and a coupon to get ten percent off purchases
," Johnson explains.

A
nd if no one volunteers to stay sober
,
you could always rent a limo for the day
, from Little Hills Express.

"I

f you get out to the wineries don't need to be driving we'll bring you into town book you into a bed and breakfast so you don't get in trouble
," Jerry Miller with the Little Hills Express points out.

"I

f the
winemakers
can do their part to try and prevent people leaving establishment intoxicated we do our part we can maintain safer roads out here
," Coon says.

T

roopers with the
H
ighway
P
atrol will conduct checkpoints in
S
te.
G
enevieve and
P
erry counties sometime this month.

S
o, be warned
,
police will be on the lookout for people who have been drinking and get behind the wheel.