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The Importance of a Designated Driver for Wine Tasting in California


The Importance Of A Designated Driver For Wine Tasting In California:


Destination Driver Andre

Destination Drivers is the original designated driver service, providing 5-Star luxury hospitality in California Wine Country since 2010.With seven operations statewide, we conduct thousands of wine country tours every year giving us an extensive knowledge of the wineries in our service areas as well as travel routes, road construction, dining options, tourist highlights and more.Hire one of our drivers for your next wine country tour and let us help enhance your experience!

A wine tasting adventure in the picturesque vineyards of Northern California is an exquisite experience that attracts wine enthusiasts from around the world. With majestic vistas, friendly people and of course a wide selection of world class, award winning wines, it is essential to prioritize safety during these outings to ensure a memorable and responsible experience.

This is where a designated driver comes into play, providing a valuable service that allows wine enthusiasts to engage in and savor all aspects of the experience without worrying about the journey home.

In this article, we will explore the significance of having a designated driver, discuss the importance of services like Destination Drivers, and delve into the key aspects of a reliable wine tour driver.

california wine traveler header image of a car driving through vineyards

Understanding the Role of a Professional Designated Driver:

A professional designated driver (or as is often our case, a Wine Tour Driver, Private Wine Driver or Wine Tasting Designated Driver), is a professional driver hired to transport individuals or groups during a wine tasting excursion. Their main priority is to abstain from consuming alcohol (or other substances) and take responsibility for driving wine aficionados safely around wine country from one winery to another. 

A private wine driver provides personalized transportation services exclusively for a single group or individual. They will possess a thorough understanding of the region and local attractions, offering a seamless, informative and pleasurable journey. As a private driver (as opposed to a group tour or party bus driver), they offer flexibility in terms of itinerary and allow for a more tailored wine tasting experience. A designated driver ensures that individuals can enjoy their wine tasting experience without worrying about the responsibility of driving afterward. Not only do they abstain from consuming alcohol, but they are committed to and should be passionate about ensuring the safety and well-being of all passengers.

The Importance of a Designated Driver:


Wine Tour Driver Claudia

By having a designated driver, wine enthusiasts can fully immerse themselves in the wine tasting experience without compromising their safety or the safety of others on the road. Consuming alcohol impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction time, making it unsafe to operate a vehicle.

It is important to remember that even one glass of wine can impair one’s ability. Having a designated driver eliminates the risk of impaired driving, ensuring the safety of all participants during the wine tour. The importance of having someone who is trained and focused fully on the road and driving safely increases exponentially in wine country, where almost everyone is wine tasting and, unfortunately, the drivers of many other vehicles are not designated drivers and are impaired to varying degrees.

Driving yourself is a risky proposition that is best avoided, especially considering that the roads in wine country are often narrow and winding, with vehicles traveling at relatively high rates of speed.

Your Destination Drivers designated driver will always be fully focused on the road, with eyes forward and both hands on the wheel. While they are happy to engage in conversation, their first priority is always everyone’s safety.

Legal Consequences:


Destination Drivers Jim & Claudia

Driving under the influence of alcohol is not only dangerous but also illegal. Law enforcement agencies in Northern California have strict regulations and penalties for drunk driving. Having a designated driver avoids the possibility of legal repercussions, protecting both individuals and wineries from potential liability.

As more and more people are visiting Northern California’s wine regions, the number of incidents and arrests are increasing, as are the number of traffic accidents. There are more police out patrolling the roads all the time to ensure the safety of the community. Avoid the $10,000 – $20,000 cost of a DUI, not to mention losing your license or worse, being responsible for a life changing accident.

The Benefits of Hiring a Wine Tour Driver:

Convenience and Expertise: A wine tour driver, also known as a private wine driver or a wine tour guide, offers the convenience of you being able to have a personalized itinerary, tailored to the preferences and interests of your group. They will take you to any winery you wish to experience, rather than dictating to you the itinerary.

Destination Drivers’ services go beyond just wine tasting and include nights out, dinners, concerts, and weddings, etc. Designated drivers often possess extensive knowledge about the region’s local attractions, allowing visitors to make the most of their time and explore hidden gems.

Safety and Responsibility: By hiring a designated driver, wine enthusiasts can enjoy the wine tasting experience to the fullest while ensuring a safe journey and no DUI or worse. A professional wine tour driver understands the local traffic patterns, road conditions, and potential hazards, ensuring a secure and worry-free transportation service.

Advantages of hiring a designated driver from Destination Drivers:


Destination Drivers DD Henry

One advantage of Destination Drivers is that we provide a trained, enthusiastic and friendly designated driver who drives you and your group in YOUR OWN CAR OR RENTAL. That means spending the day in the comfort of your own vehicle while receiving our concierge level service. And, we are able to provide this outstanding level of service at a price that any wine tasting enthusiast can afford. 

At Destination Drivers, our designated drivers are passionate about and trained to do everything in their power to enhance your experience. From providing water and small snacks to taking your photos, carrying your purchases and even walking your dog while you are tasting, they will focus on your needs. 

They’ll adjust the seats in the vehicle in such a way to provide the most space and highest level of comfort for you, our guests. Drivers will help keep you on schedule if you would like, with reminder texts 10-15 minutes before you need to leave for your next appointment. That way you can focus on enjoying the experience rather than focusing on the clock. They will even go pick up lunch for you at one of the local markets, delis, or restaurants so that you can relax. After all, this is your day and you should relax and enjoy it as much as possible. 

And, if you are running late, your designated wine driver will be glad to call to your next appointment and let them know that you are running behind and make sure you don’t lose your spot. But remember the old saying, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! If you are at a winery having one of those incredible once in a lifetime experiences, don’t be in a hurry to get to the next tasting just because you have an appointment. Of course you generally don’t want to miss it or lose your deposit, but sometimes its important to slow life down a little bit and just be where you are.

What else sets Destination Drivers apart?:

Not only was Destination Drivers the very first designated driver service in the United States – founded in 2010 in Paso Robles, California – but we are also renowned for consistently outstanding service, with 5-star reviews across all of the platforms including Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, etc. We focus on our clients needs, preferences and desires, and our clients agree that we are the best wine tour driver service available in Northern California and here are some specifics as to why:

Experienced and Professional Drivers: Destination Drivers employs highly trained and experienced drivers who possess a deep understanding of how to provide a concierge level experience to every client. We only hire drivers who are passionate about providing outstanding service and taking every opportunity to enhance your experience. They ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, offering valuable insights about the regions, their histories, and the unique characteristics of the areas.

Personalized Itineraries: Destination Drivers caters to our clients customized itineraries that are tailored to the preferences and interests of each group. Whether exploring Napa Valley or Sonoma County, Lodi or Plymouth and Sutter Creek in Amador County’s Sierra Foothills, these private wine drivers provide a curated experience that aligns with the specific desires of our clients and adherence to their unique preferences and schedules. Our drivers’ reliability ensures punctuality and a stress-free experience throughout the wine tour and can adapt to last-minute changes, providing flexibility and convenience to visitors.

Commitment to Safety: Safety is the top priority for Destination Drivers. Our drivers undergo thorough background checks and possess clean driving records. Additionally, they are well-versed in and committed to adhering to responsible driving practices, ensuring a safe and secure journey for all passengers. Drivers will also ensure your comfort along with your safety, staying under the speed limit and focusing on the road at all times. Our drivers are never in a hurry, know to pull over and let other vehicles pass on windy roads in order to keep you as safe as possible, and never rush a turn or in any way take unnecessary risks.

Tipping Etiquette for Wine Tour Drivers: 


DD David and Client

It is customary to show appreciation for the exceptional service and professionalism provided by wine tour drivers. We are often asked about tipping for our drivers, which is at your discretion and should reflect your experience. When deciding how much to tip a wine tour driver, consider the following guidelines:

Industry Standard: It is generally recommended to tip between 15% and 25% of the total service cost. Factors such as the driver’s exceptional service, knowledge, and attentiveness can warrant a higher gratuity. Consider the overall experience, personal satisfaction, and the driver’s contribution to the enjoyment of the wine tour when determining the appropriate tip.

Group Size and Complexity: Larger groups or more complex itineraries may require additional effort from the driver. In such cases, it is considerate to increase the tip accordingly.

In conclusion…

…when embarking on a wine tasting adventure in Northern California, having a designated driver is paramount to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. Destination Drivers offers exceptional private wine drivers who cater to personalized itineraries, prioritize safety, and enhance the overall wine tasting experience. By hiring a designated driver through Destination Drivers, wine enthusiasts can fully savor the flavors of the region without compromising their well-being or that of others.

So, when planning your next Sonoma, Napa, Lodi or Sierra Foothills wine tour, remember the importance of a designated driver and make responsible choices to create lasting memories. Our prices are affordable for anyone out for a day of wine tasting and certainly less costly than the $10,000 – $20,000 cost of a DUI, not to mention losing your license or worse, being responsible for a life changing accident. 

 Have fun and most importantly, Stay Safe!

Whether visiting wineries in Northern, Central or Southern California, Destination Drivers is focused on making sure you have the best possible experience while staying safe. Enjoy being toured around in the comfort of your own vehicle by a concierge level driver.

Be sure to also check out the amazing upcoming Experience Panama tour, February 24 – March 3, 2025, designed and led by Destination Drivers Norther California owners and 30 year veteran tour operators, guides and Panama Experts, David Blank & Claudia Fabrega. Claudia is a native of the Republic of Panama where she and David met and formed a unique adventure tour company that for 7 years focused on highlighting the best of Panama to their guests. This is going to be an incredible 10 day exploration of the history, culture and nature of The Crossroads of the World!


“Our trip last weekend was perfect. Our driver had so much local knowledge and was a real concierge for our trip as he helped us plan each and every stop based on our preferences. Along the way, we had great conversations, learned a ton, and had an absolute blast.”  Steve Simpson (google):

This was absolutely the best experience EVER!! I had to contact David weeks later to ask for business cards because I was so eager to share with people. Safe, affordable VIP service made our ladies wine tasting a memorable event that we will never forget! Thank you David for treating us like celebrities and your best friends!!”      Carol Voris (google):

David was an amazing driver. He took my wife and I around the various wineries in the area and astounded us with his knowledge of the area. The experience was incredible and really made us feel like we were getting the ‘local’ experience. Best bang for your winery buck!   David G. (google)

This was my 4th time using Destination Drivers and I am grateful every time. I have utilized this company in both Paso Robles and Napa and the professionalism and communication is superb. We had Will as our driver this most recent time and absolutely recommend him for his professionalism and knowledge.  Katlin Maw (google)

What a phenomenal experience and an even more amazing staff! This was by FAR the most enjoyable and relaxing day of my life. Everything was taken care of and I just had to show up and enjoy the personable staff and a beautiful day. I can’t wait to book my next “Destination”.   Loreli Cappel (google)


Book a driver with Destination Drivers and we’d be happy to make make the most of the experience.

We love Destination Drivers! We have used them in Sonoma and Napa and have had the best experiences! David is wonderful and made us feel like princesses as he drove us around! Highly recommend this service!!! – Liz Braun, Google Reviewer