Standing for high quality wines with a distinctive South African feel, Painted Wolf Wines are thought provoking, down-to-earth and with conservation at heart.

It’s no secret that I am a serious advocate of wines from South Africa. With my next trip to the Cape Winelands regrettably still not yet in the planning, I am doing my best to find and taste new South African wines at home. It’s no substitute for a personal visit for sure, and some labels I would love to explore are not retailing in Europe . Yet there have been some very exciting revelations – and one of the most pleasant I am still revelling about involved the excellent Painted Wolf Wines I absolutely have to tell you about.

Founded in 2007, Painted Wolf Wines is one of the ‘new kids on the block’ who over the past two decades added greater diversification and lots of new ideas to the historic winemaking landscape of the Cape Winelands.

The brainchild of Emma and Jeremy Borg, the new wine business was built on Jeremy’s profound wine knowledge obtained during his time working with wine companies in the U.S. the UK and South Africa, including renowned Fairview Wines in Paarl.

Painted Wolf Wines – Innovative award-winning wines and a good cause

When it was time to start their own adventure, it was not only winemaking was only one of the couple’s ambitions. Supporting the local endangered wildlife was the other one. And while it’s perhaps elephants, rhinos, and lions, that immediately spring to mind when talking about the amazing – and threatened – African wildlife needing support, Emma and Jeremy chose a largely under-the-radar species to support: the African wild dog.

African wild dogs, also called painted dogs due to the colouring of their fur, are among the most endangered of all African mammals. Around 100 years ago, about half a million painted dogs lived across Sub-Saharan Africa while the number today is estimated at less than 6,000 – and probably less than 400 in South Africa alone.

Painted Wolf Wines – Innovative award-winning wines and a good cause

Painted Wolf Wines donates part of its revenues to the African wild dog conservation and social upliftment to communities surrounding key African wild dog populations. Which would not be possible without the support of a range of investors. Thus, rather than a winery or winemaking business, Painted Wolf Wines is better described as a community of investing members. A community that could be well compared to the behaviour of the painted dog – who lives in a highly co-operative family (pack) structure, while members of Painted Wolf Wines contribute the grapes, technical and practical skills to make it a successful business.

About Painted Wolf Wines

Painted Wolf Wines is based in Paarl, with the ventures new tasting room located at Simondium Guild between Paarl and Franschhoek.

In less than 20 years, Painted Wolf has become one of the leading South African wineries producing award-winning wines in three distinctive and exciting wine ranges, from light and fruity to excitingly complex.

Painted Wolf Wines – Innovative award-winning wines and a good cause

The Den stands for easy-drinking, soft and juicy wines packed with flavour.

The Pack are handcrafted premium wines from organic or sustainably farmed vineyards.

Lycaon Pictus are top-notch boutique wines including a certified heritage Chenin Blanc along with Rhone-style blends.

Grapes for Painted Wolf wines are harvested from vineyards located in different Cape Winelands regions, in particular the Swartland and Coastal Regions, allowing for a range of distinct styles.

The main focus is on the two leading South African grape varieties, Chenin Blanc and Pinotage though Painted Wolf wines also include Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir and Shiraz/Syrah.

Painted Wolf Wines Tasting Notes

Painted Wolf The Den Chenin Blanc

Grapes for this wine come from the Swartland and Coastal Region, hand-harvested and tank fermented using natural yeast.

Painted Wolf Wines – Innovative award-winning wines and a good cause

In the glass, a light yellow.

On the nose, aromas of tropical fruits, fresh lemons and fragrant pears.

On the palate, delicious fruit nuances. Medium-bodied with fresh acidity and a touch of oak. The wine has a great texture.

To pair with: This is a perfect wine enjoyed on its own as aperitif or paired with salad, ceviche, mild and soft cheeses, grilled fish and seafood, Thai chicken curry, and light meats.

Painted Wolf The Den Shiraz

Grapes were harvested at vineyards located in the Coastal Region. The were destalked and fermented in tanks with French oak staves, with malolactic and maturation being completed on staves.

Painted Wolf Wines – Innovative award-winning wines and a good cause

In the glass, a dark red.

On the nose, aromas of spicy black cherry and black barriers followed by evident of wood flavours.

On the palate, full-bodied and well balanced with creamy berry flavours and soft tannins. Layered finish.

To pair with lamb, beef, venison, and poultry.

Painted Wolf The Pack Guillermo Pinotage 2019

This full-bodied red is part of the ‘The Pack’ range and named after one of the first investors of Pained Wolf’s winemaking and conservation project Billy ‘Guillermo’ Hughes.

Grapes for the Guillermo Pinotage are hand-picked from organic or sustainably farmed vineyards. Following four days of cold-soaking, around 30% was whole-bunch fermented in open bins and submerged by hand four times a day to extract maximum colour and aroma. The remaining grapes were fermented in a rototank exclusively with their natural yeast. The wine was matured for 18 months in a mixture of American and French oak of which 25% was new wood.

This is a wine you can drink young but also has good aging potential, gaining additional complexity over six to eight years after bottling.

Painted Wolf Wines – Innovative award-winning wines and a good cause

In the glass, a dark purple.

On the nose, rich aromas of ripe red berries and black cherry, exotic spice and vanilla.

On the palate, rich, spicy red berry and cherry aromas, ripe tannins, and a long, complex finish.

To pair with deeply flavoured dishes, wild mushroom risotto, red meats, beef, venison, and poultry. It also works well with Indian-style curries.

Indian Chicken Curry Recipe: Perfect Weeknight Comfort Food

In conclusion

A young and innovative wine business that produces excellent wines at affordable prices along with a great cause in supporting endangered wildlife. It’s unquestionable Painted Wolf Wines is a winery more than worthwhile being explored. Both through their wines at home and dropping by their tasting room when visiting the Cape Winelands.