Friday, 6 July 2012

Drinking Responsibly and Getting Your RSA

I have been thinking about writing a cheeky little entry on Breakfast Wines, but wanted to make sure everyone understood that I do not advocate nor do I drink wine or other alcohol in the early morning myself!  However, there are some wines that match up beautifully with all-day breakfast menus which are worth mentioning, so that blog is soon to follow.

But first, I wanted to discuss responsible drinking behaviors.  Whenever I host a dinner party or an evening out - among friends or with business associates - I alway alert people to the need to monitor themselves and each other to ensure we are drinking responsibly and will get get home safely.  A number of RSLs and other restaurants in Australia now have free Breathalyser machines so you can check your alcohol levels before leaving the venue and help decide if you are able to drive or should catch a ride from a friend or grab a taxi home.  I applaud them for that!

Providing this type of awareness is even more important if you are hosting a wine tasting evening with multiple bottles of wine to try.  We provide spit buckets, so you do not have to swallow everything you put in your mouth.  However, many people do not believe in the this, and feel they are wasting good wine by spitting it out!  (There is some truth in that, but if you are going to sample 10 - 20 different wines, some maybe several times, there could be a danger in swallowing it all!)  Therefore, we start every session with a warning of the perils of imbibing too much and some tips on being a socially responsible drinker.

And especially for your loved ones and even if you are at home and not driving, you should be drinking responsibly, or accidents can happen!

We plan in advance our travel based on how much we think we are going to drink.  If at all possible, I like to eat and drink at home, or go to one of the BYO restaurants down Kent Street from where we live such as Fish on the Rocks or Curry at the Rocks.  Both allow BYO wine (and serve a decent selection of wines and other beverages).  Then I can walk to the restaurant and back.  Same if I am visiting my favorite steak house, The Cut Bar & Grill.

But one of my favorite new restaurants is HUX @ Nortons, run by Jay Huxley, Masterchef finalist from last season and he does the most amazing pub food in the world!   Since it is further away and the train is not easy to use to get there, we either drive over and I will have one drink and drive home.  Or if I have two or more, then Deanna drives home.  Or if we both know we want a few, we will walk over (about a 75 minute walk) to get some exercise and then take a taxi home.  Regardless, a trip to HUX is always worth it!

Minimally, if you plan on doing wine tastings for sale, working at some wine events with friends, or occasionally helping out in a cellar door, in Australia, you need to acquire your RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate and card.  This is required training for anyone in the field.  We are going to get ours very soon.  We signed up for a class last year at our vineyard, but it was canceled unfortunately.

In NSW, it was previously required that you attend a 6-hour (basically give up a day!) classroom course to get your certificate which was an impediment for us as busy as we have been during the last year.  But now, with the new legislation that came into effect on 1 July, 2012, you can take an on-line course to qualify for your RSA.  There are a lot of different places now to get your RSA, so check out what the best approach is for you.  We are going to take one of the on-line courses, but you may want to take it in person and use the opportunity to socialize and network with others

I provide links above for both an on-line course and an in-person course, but am not recommending them over any other course.  I have not attended or heard good or bad about either of them or any others.  Most courses cost between $50 - $150, but I expect there is very little difference in course content or value.

I highly recommend that everyone take their RSA to ensure you know the basics of responsible drinking and service of alcohol, regardless if you want to work in the field or not.  And now, that I have that off my chest, I can write the blog on breakfast wines that I have been dying to get out there!


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  2. Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) competency Card if you want to work in any establishment that serves alcohol in NSW, the law requires.
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