Painted Wolf Wines took top honours at the 2019 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show on Tuesday June 4 2019. Out of the 956 wines from 206 producers, Painted Wolf Wines was awarded trophies for the Top Niche White for The Pack Roussanne 2018
and for the Top Niche Red for Black Pack Mourvedre 2017. With the top two niche wines in the competition and ten medals for other wines, Painted Wolf Wines had an unassailable lead in the race to win the coveted Trophy for Most Successful Producer Overall, which was presented to our very proud winemaker, Jeremy Borg.
In their media release, the organisers of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show recognised Painted Wolf Wines’ previous wins and celebrated this year’s stellar performance:
“The top producer for 2019 –Painted Wolf Wines –had previously won a trophy (in 2012) and a gold medal (in 2017), its success this year took the industry by storm. “
Our winemaker and company founder, Jeremy Borg was over the moon:
“This is an amazing achievement, to be judged by such an experienced panel to be the top producer at this year’s show. Painted Wolf now joins a list of some of the most lauded local wine producers. Twelve years ago we set out with a strong vision and burning desire to produce exciting, characterful wines and to utilise revenue from sales to sustainably fund the conservation of a rambunctious and highly endangered carnivore . I would like to thank all our friends in the industry who have provided grapes, bulk wine, cellar space and counsel, and our incredible staff who have made all of this possible. I would also like to congratulate all of the other trophy winners with whom we were honoured to share the podium.”
What are niche varieties?
When it comes to wine competitions, it would be impossible for the organisers to have a category for each wine varietal that is grown in the country. It follows that the most common varieties on the wine shelves are also the most widely planted grape cultivars in the Western Cape. The past number of years have seen the introduction of new varieties into the South African wine scene, and the rediscovery of some wonderful old varieties which have been here for ever. Many of these are better suited to our ever drying and warming climate than the traditional Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot etc . It is these outsiders that make up the group of grapes judged as niche varietals. Past red winners have been cultivars such as Petit Verdot and Cinsault. There has never been a white niche varietal trophy awarded at the Old Mutual trophy wine show so this is a special honour. Jeremy has always had an eye for the warm climate varietals combined with the inability to say no to interesting grapes. In a recent interview with Guy McDonald in his segment, Via the GrapeVine on Magic 828, Jeremy confessed to this drive to find a home for unusual grapes:
” When one is presented with beautiful small parcels of grapes, there’s an obligation to try and get them to sing in a bottle of wine.”
Listen to the full interview in two parts, here:
Via the Grapevine, part one
Via the Grapevine, part two
Michael Fridjhon, chair of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show recognised our love of warm climate grapes in an article for Business Day:
“Jeremy Borg’s Painted Wolf Wines have been around for a decade with a solid track record. The wines are always thoughtfully made, mostly produced from a limited range of varieties utterly suited to the sites where they have been planted.
What changed in 2019 was the outsiders came inside: the niche varieties with which Borg consistently worked came of age.
With the first trophies for roussanne and mourvedre in the history of the show, Borg to an unassailable lead.
However, to get there he had to be ahead of the trend in the first place: he chose to focus on cultivars ideally suited to the new conditions of the Cape.”
Jeremy discusses this focus in a radio interview with Carrie Adams on Touch HD – You can listen to that interview here
This year has so far been very rewarding with our Top 100 win in May and earlier, having Jeremy featured in a Forbes Magazine article about four different South African winemakers, Guillermo Pinotage was reviewed in a companion article as “Superlative Value” and “Definitely a statement of Pinotage as South African individuality”.
Like a pack of painted wolves, persistence has paid off in Painted Wolf Wines’ hunt for success.