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Painted Wolf

Coastal Region, South Africa
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Painted Wolf Wines – Painting your palate with a conservation and wine champion.

Adventure, authenticity and the tracks of time and space have molded Painted Wolf wines into a conservation and wine champion.

Our Painted Wolf journey began way back in the early 1990s when wildlife film maker Amanda Irving (Jeremy’s sister) bumped into safari camp manager Emma at a party. It turned out that Emma needed a chef for Lloyds camp, Savuti, and Jeremy, who happened to be vacationing in South Africa at the time, was volunteered. At that time, Jeremy was due to begin a seasonal wine making job in the Cape before returning to his full time position at Rosenblum cellars in California.

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Very soon Jeremy was on his way to Botswana to spend a short sabbatical from his cellar position to cook for guests at the camp. However things took an unexpected turn as he immersed himself back into the African bush of his childhood and he and Emma became an item, which eventually led to a wedding under a big acacia tree in the African wilderness, where the snapping wildlife photographers outnumbered all of the other guests.

Emma and Jeremy made a pact on that day to make it their life’s work to support conservation and African wild spaces. The years working for Lloyd and June Wilmot brought them into contact with many of Africa’s top and most inspirational conservationists and whose fireside conversations left an indelible stamp on their sensibilities.

Emma was the travelling type and had been all over the world before the path took her to Botswana, to continue in hospitality. It was serendipitous that a position popped up for her and she stayed for 5 years living in a tent at Lloyd’s camp, with her most regular company being hornbills, hyenas, elephants, baboons, antelope and the ever-present lions of Savuti. Amanda and her husband travelled all over Southern Africa producing over 250 wildlife and conservation films. Jeremy was raised an African boy, travelling back and forth from Malawi to boarding school in the bush in Zimbabwe. As a young adult he studied economics and then worked as a chef in London and San Francisco before branching out into wine, an interest since about 14 years of age.

In California, Jeremy was blessed to work for socially and environmentally minded chefs and winemakers who inspired him to create a business whose main goal was supporting conservation and social causes. Before this could happen, he needed to learn his trade properly and the road led him back to South Africa and to Fairview wine estate, which at the time was the most liberal and forward thinking wine business in the country, and one of the few which was truly successful commercially. In addition to being mentored by owner, Charles Back, Jeremy studied for a post graduate wine business degree in Australia. He was also instrumental in the development of Goats do Roam, a Rhône style blend, at one time the top selling premium South African wine.

Eventually the road took Emma and Jeremy on a new adventure and they embarked on their own winemaking project. After struggling for a few years to find the right space a chance encounter with a magazine discussing the plight of Painted Wolves in South Africa led to the creation of a company whose ideals and philosophy built on the incredibly empathy, social interaction, energy and co-operation between African Painted Wolves.

Painted Wolf Wines nurture relationships which allow the crafting of wines which have a lot of character, and which are crafted to deliver a great deal of pleasure. A regular stream of revenue allows for the ongoing funding of half a dozen different charities supporting the conservation of the Painted Wolf, and other species - they like the underrepresented and the “unloved”. They also support poor and underprivileged children living in wilderness areas - one cannot sustainably protect wild spaces and wild animals unless the people who live in the immediate proximity see the benefit from conservation too.

Jeremy’s years working as a chef have molded his wine sensibilities and he likes wines which have balance, drinkability, freshness and a sense of place. Wine is like cooking - the best comes from an uncluttered approach which respects the integrity of the fruit and draws the character from the site where the grapes have been grown. He feels that it is important to be calm when making wine and to fill the space around the wine with good positive energy. Having been mentored by one of California’s great Zinners, Kent Rosenblum, it was only natural that Jeremy should gravitate to South Africa’s cultural cousin, Pinotage.

Painted Wolf is established as one of the best-known Pinotage producers in the US market. As time went by the repertoire of wines produced by Painted Wolf has embraced another South African champion, Chenin Blanc. To a large extent their vineyard partners farm in warmer grape growing regions so they have also embraced Rhône varietals - Jeremy has always been a great lover of Rhone wines. Over the years relationships have been forged with organic and sustainable grape growers in half a dozen South African wine producing regions.

Over the years they have managed to donate around 4% of their revenue to conservation, a significant part of their profit. Their efforts have been recognized and they are the recipient of a Cheetah award from the Endangered Wildlife Trust in recognition of their efforts. Their wines continue to get better and better and in 2019 came out from the cold to be judged to be the most successful producer of the year at the prestigious Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. Over the past years this award had consistently gone to South Africa prestigious blue-chip wines.

Jeremy, Emma and the Painted Wolf pack, welcome you to travel with them down this satisfying and fun wine road and to help secure a future for Southern Africa’s most endangered and charismatic carnivore - the African Painted Wolf.