Van Loveren continues its fight against poaching with its latest release Rhino Run wines…

The Van Loveren Homestead, home of Rhino Run Wines

Van Loveren Family Vineyards has continued its contribution to nature conservation in South Africa with the release of the latest vintage Rhino Run wines. The range of superb quality wines celebrates this magnificent animal of the African plains and the efforts being made to save it.

CEO Phillip Retief, his grandmother planted trees for great occasions

“The plight of the rhino has been well-publicised and continues to grow direr every passing day,” says Van Loveren Wines CEO Phillip Retief. “It has mobilised millions of people across the globe to help fight the scourge of poaching.

“As a producer invested in the preservation of our natural heritage, both through responsible farming practices and initiatives wider afield, Van Loveren has long been involved with conservation and continues through Rhino Run.”

Rhino Run Chardonnay 2017

The Van Loveren vineyards are situated in the Robertson Wine Valley and have been in the Retief family since 1937. Maker of wines of international repute including Christina Van Loveren and Four Cousins, Van Loveren is known as a producer of award-winning wines that are consistently high in quality and great value.

The Rhino Run range comprises five wines, the first two of which I have tasted and on which I expand.

The Rhino Run Chardonnay 2017 is packed in a Burgundy shaped bottle and closed with a screw cap. The label is  simple and elegant and portrays a White Rhino, for which it was made. In the glass, the wine is pale straw. The aromas are of soft citrus and pink grapefruit which carry over into the palate, which is generous from entry to the long and gently waning aftertaste. Lovely line of acidity running through the wine, and subtle oaking  which supports the fruit with its concomitant spice and vanilla. Medium of body, it makes a great sipper before launch or dinner and at sundown. A butter roasted organic chicken would be a perfect partner as would fish or seafood. A salad with leaves, chopped red apples, scrunch walnuts and gorgonzola cheese is a great match. Also a creamy goat cheese bruschetta with sun dried tomato pesto and crunchy celery.

The Rhino Run Ian Player 2016 is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is packed in a Burgundy shaped bottle. closed with a screw cap. The label is simple and elegant, with the name quite clear. Dedicated to Dr Ian Player, one of South Africa’s great Conservationists, the wine was awarded Hidden Gem on the 2019 Platter’s Guide to South African Wines.In the glass the wine is an opaque black cherry at the heart which pales out to ruby garnet at the edges.  The aromas are of ripe berries, Creme de Cassis and soft ripe bloodplums. Once on the palate, it is generous, particularly at mid palate.   Berries abound as do plums and a undertow of eucalyptus. The oak and its concomitant spice and vanilla supports the fruit. The ending is an interweaving of all the parts in a silken, long and satisfying aftertaste. I loved the glass – or two we had. As a food match, it needs charred meat off the grill, roasted or from a pan so that the caramelly edges add so much to the pleasure of drinking this deliious wine. A well prepared and richly flavoured vegetarian dish would go down well too.

Rhino Run Ian Player 2016

The Rhino Run Chenin Blanc 2018, also pays tribute to the white rhino. The wine has aromas of peaches and floral notes that linger gently on the palate. The perfect partner to herbed mussels, grilled chicken or pork, seafood dishes and even sushi.

The Rhino Run Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 has ripe berries, cassis and redcurrants on the palate with good oak maturation realising a soft, toasty finish. Enjoy with rich meat dishes, pork or venison.

The Rhino Run Pinotage 2017 has a complex nose of banana, cassis and strawberry followed by layers of fruit, vanilla and spice on the palate. The wine can be savoured with red meat, rich stews, curries and smoked foods.

The Rhino Run range joins Van Loveren’s distinguished portfolio and is available at most wine purveyors nationwide. The  wines are avaiable at the most evenhanded of prices, the white wines are priced at around R60 a bottle, while the three red wines sell for around R71 a bottle.

Bussell Retief, van Loveren Cellarmaster

A sixth wine completes the range, which further extends Van Loveren’s contribution to nature conservation in South Africa. A limited release collector’s item, The Last One Shiraz 2013 joins the line-up, and what makes this Shiraz extra special is that only 1 215 bottles, selling at R1 215 each, are released. The significance of this number represents the total number of rhinos poached in 2014. This limited-edition wine is hand bottled, waxed and labelled, featuring the signature of Cellar Master, Bussell Retief, on the label, reaffirming Van Loveren’s support to combat rhino poaching. The perfect collector’s item the wine is beautifully presented in a rhino inspired box. Produced from hand-selected grapes from a single vineyard, Bussell describes this premium quality, full-bodied wine as displaying light peppery aromas of ripe berries, perfume and spice.

A Black Rhino and her calf

Launched under the banner of Honour the Legends, Rhino Run serves not only to highlight the poaching crisis, but also makes a contribution to the esteemed Player Ntombela Foundation as well as other foundations that have all lost rhinos through poaching, with every bottle sold. The wines are currently available for export, and at international wine shows and exhibitions, thereby creating further awareness locally, nationally and more importantly internationally.

Just over a decade ago the story of successful conservation efforts that brought both black and white rhino species back from the brink of extinction, seemed to be heading for a happy ending. Since 2008 however, an alarming and heart-breaking upswing in poaching has pitched the animals back into a struggle for survival, with almost 8 000 poached for their horns. The Rhino Run range is inspired by the late Dr Ian Player, founder of the Player Ntombela Foundation and the conservationist who dedicated his life and career since the 1960s to lead the efforts to save the rhino.

Visit or call 023 615 1505 for more information.

Based on information from On the Marque PR & Communications