Words by Kim Sparrow Photos by Karen Lowe
A wonderful advantage of collecting stories for a living are the places and people encountered. As we carefully and intentionally curate partnerships, we find ourselves surrounded by ethically based, conscientious companies - our most recent being Painted Wolf Wines.
One November morning last year found Karen Lowe, founder of Wild travel Media, on her way out of Cape town to visit the Painted Wolf Wines headquarters, owned and run by Jeremy and Emma Borg, an hour drive to the quaint streets of Paarl, fringed with Jacaranda trees. Painted Wolf Wines is a conservation driven winemaking facility - two variables necessary for survival. Passion and vision to protect the African Wild Dog is poured into each range of their wines - almost tangible as you walk through off the street, through the doors and into ‘The Den’ - the heart of all African Wild Dog communities.
Karen met with Fiona, Painted Wolf Wines marketing director, who walked her through the process from selecting the grapes to sale - and how 5% of their turnover goes into a fund for the dogs. Investing in a bottle of wine is essentially investing in the future of the species - a delicious price to pay for conservation. If you visit their Painted Wolf Wines website you can see the impact made here, followed by an infographic educating the world about wild dog distribution, threats faced, solutions and physical characteristics. This gives those who appreciate their wine variety a personal understanding and insight into the reality of the situation.
Painted Wolf Wines is not an estate winery - preferring the freedom to roam and source grapes from a variety of carefully selected vineyards. This life perspective resonates with Wild Travel Media, as well as reflects the characters of Wild Dog - the freedom to roam the essence of the pack. One of our favourite places to roam to is Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, finding our den at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge. The collaboration between Painted Wolf Wines and Chilo Gorge is steeped in a deep love and respect for the species, with founder Clive Stockil a vehement conservationist and partner Lin Barrie an advocate for Painted Dogs, literally capturing their beauty in paint. 'Art by Lin Barrie’.
The decision to couple with Painted Wolf Wines was simple - a shared vision of awareness and protection channelled through the art of wine, and the mastery of art. Both approach conservation through creativity, each initiative speaking to the soul.
Lin Barrie painting 'The Chase' - Photo supplied by Lin.
‘Wild Dog Weekends’ were launched at Chilo Gorge, an event aiming to encourage people to immerse themselves in nature, reconnecting, learning and drinking wine. A glass of Painted Wolf Wines is best sipped outdoors, the core of its flavours made from fierce love of nature - Africa in a glass. This wine is created to enjoy in beautiful locations - drinking in the scenery while savouring the taste of Painted Wolf Wines on your palate.
A visit to Painted Wolf Wines is highly recommended - seated either in the den, surrounded by Wild Dog art and books, or outdoors beneath the Jacaranda trees. The passion of Jeremy’s winemaking and dedication to Wild Dog is tangible - capturing the essence of Africa - and what better way to invest in your emotional wealth and contribute towards conservation by investing in a bottle of Painted Wolf Wines!