The first 6 months of 2022 have been a busy and as usual, wild ride at Painted Wolf. Harvest didn’t disappoint in terms of keeping everyone running around from vineyard to cellar – and lots of places in between! As usual winemaker Jeremy was faced with the additional challenge presented by making our wines in cellars in two different localities – at Mischa in Wellington and Portmore Cellar in the Voor Paaardeberg. This year the harvest was later than usual and the addition of some unseasonal rain showers, made for one of the most challenging harvests in recent years. On the positive side, Jeremy is very excited about some excellent white wines in the offing and very promising low-alcohol reds.
Perfectly timed, just before harvest swung into action, was our hosting of a magical, memorable evening at our new tasting room at Simondium Guild. It was a wonderful launch event for the magnificent book “Remembering Wild Dogs” – a fantastic initiative by UK photographer and wildlife enthusiast Margot Raggett. It was a great pleasure to host Margot, Brent Leo Smith from Painteddog.tv and Cole du Plessis from the Endangered Wildlife Trust, who along with Jeremy entertained the capacity crowd with funny and fascinating stories about Africa and our beloved wild dogs. Lots of books were sold on the evening, with all takings going directly to the EWT – African Wild Dog Range Expansion Programme, which Cole manages.
Then came the news that Covid restrictions were being lifted and we started making plans! In May, Jeremy and Amanda migrated northwards for a week of wine and wildlife in the Nelspruit and Hoedspruit area. It was a busy and productive time, culminating in a well-attended, conservation-focused event at The Farmery, a new venue in Hoedspruit. Grant Beverly who manages the Lowveld Wild Dog Project for the EWT gave a great talk on the dogs that occur in the Hoedspruit area. Many locals who attended commented on how unaware they were of the dogs’ precarious conservation status, a reminder of how crucial these kinds of presentations are. We hosted a complimentary, wine tasting to the eager and receptive crowd, with Jeremy presenting his usual entertaining anecdotal gems of knowledge! Jeremy and Amanda also managed a brief visit into the Kruger Park, sadly no wild dog sightings but plenty of other experiences to make it worthwhile. And of course, always great to see a selection of our Den wines in all the shops in the Park, so fear not if you are visiting that part of the world and need to stock up on a bottle or two!
No sooner had Jeremy returned to Paarl, then Emma departed for the UK. A trip that consisted of visits to several of our UK trade customers and her attendance at a hugely successful fundraising art exhibition by artist Hannah Shergold, in support of our UK conservation partner TUSK. She used the opportunity to hand over a cheque to TUSK valued at GBP 8640.11 generated through recent sales of our wine in the UK. Emma was delighted to be in the UK over the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations (happened quite by accident) – so she very happily participated in the festivities and raised a glass or two to the much-loved monarch.