Worthy winners, fantastic fund-raisers, winning wines and a new club – as 2015 draws to a close, this Paarl-based couple and their many friends (and pack members) have an impressive count to celebrate.
Let’s start with this week’ announcement that the annual EWT Cheetah Awards for advancing conservation efforts in South Africa have been bestowed on Jeremy Borg of Painted Wolf Wines and Angus Burns of WWF SA. In the photo above Jeremy, right poses with EWT's Dirk Ackerman and Kelly Marnewich.
This award goes to individuals who have “ gone beyond the call of duty and extended themselves over a prolonged period of time in support of …the Endangered Wildlife Trust…”
That description certainly applies to Jeremy who, together with wife Emma, have been dedicated in their determination to save the African wild dog, one of our most endangered animals, being hunted to near extinction and with shrinking habitat.
From the date of the launch of their Painted Wolf wines in 2007, they have supported the cause with a donation from every bottle sold. Jeremy works with the Tusk Trust in the UK, which was set up to save elephants in Kenya, but now supports more than 100 wildlife projects in Africa.
Just this year alone, the Borgs have donated just over R300 000 to conservation in the past 12 months, to Tusk and to EWT here to support wild dog conservaron and to Childlren in the Wilderness, which undertakes projects with rural children.
Earlier this year Borg set out on a gruelling 850 mile cycle race from Padstowe to Edinburgh, which he dubbed Pedals 4 Paws, A Celebration of Painted Wolves, raising four thousand British pounds for Tusk. Charity wine tastings, dinner and a pop-up art auction featuring renowned wildlife photographers relieved the cycling monotony..
Earlier this month Jeremy heard that he was shortlisted for Diners’ Club Winemaker of the year for his 2012 Guillermo Pinotage…
Which brings us to the exuberant, enjoyable, characterful wines of the Painted Wolf ranges.
The entry level Den comfort wines embrace a cab, pinotage, a pinotage rosé, chenin and sauvignon blanc, none of which I have sampled recently. But I was more than charmed by the twin blends in the Cape Hunting range : the screwcapped Peloton Blanc 2014 , (also labelled Lekanyane which is Tswana for wild dog) is an intense partially wooded meld of viognier, chenin, roussanne, chardonnay and marsanne: bold, fruity, complex with a minerally backbone, while its partner, Peloton rouge 2012 is mostly pinotage, finished with 8% Grenache and 6% cinsaut. It’s drinking well, both juicy and savoury, with some oak on the palate. Earlier vintages have scooped awards in Cape blends contests.
The Pack range includes the distinctive Guillermo pinotage, an impressive 4-star example of our indigenous grape, sourced from organically grown Swartland bush vines. Fragrant, fruity, and sophisticated,
The Penny viognier - also from organically grown grapes, wild yeast fermented - is a joyful wine, very moreish, offering a feast of fruit and a dash of vanilla. Citrus and summer stone fruit merge seamlessly with a little spice to a lengthy finish.
Wooded, rich and somewhat elegant describes the 4-star Roussanne 2014 , from Paarl grapes, recently released, this well balanced niche white can take on any competitor.
The Borgs use friends or “pack members” as sources for their grapes in several regions, from Darling to the Swartland, Paarl and Stellenbosch, acknowledging their input, even naming two of their wines after Billy and Penny Hughes, who make their own distinctive wines as well as supplying the Borgs.
Emma and Jeremy met at a bush camp in Botswana which where they came to admire the wild dog teamwork and sociable nurturing, and proved their admiration by structuring their new wine company using a similar hierarchy.
If you are new to these wines, with their appealing hand-drawn labels from artist friends, you are in for a treat. Those who are already fans can now join the new wine club where members can access the rarer labels or attend special events like wild dog safaris. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.