{wine} Drink a glass, save a rhino: Van Loveren’s Rhino Run wines

Food and wine are almost always about fun and games. So, when I find a brand that’s raising awareness about and committing to fight issues that negatively affect our planet earth, that’s when my ears really prick up. One of these brands is Van Loveren  Family Vineyards with their 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.

“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,” says Van Loveren Wines CEO Phillip Retief (press release).


A while ago, I was gifted a duo of elegant Rhino Run wines from Van Loveren.  Beautifully bottled and labeled, the contribution to rhino conservation was apparent from a first glance.

Upon further research, I found that this these vintages not only work to highlight the rhino-poaching crisis in our country, but it also contributes to a variety of foundations who have lost rhinos through poaching, the most well-known one being the Player Ntombela Foundation.

To advocate even further against this cruel treatment of wild animals, the Rhino Run wines are available for export to international wine shows and exhibitions, extending its reach far beyond our national parks’ borders.

Conservation efforts

South Africa holds the bulk of the world’s rhinos and we’ve been hit the hardest in terms of poaching efforts. Two and a half rhinos are still killed every single day. Even though there has been a steady decrease in rhino poachings since the start of the current crisis in 2008, with numbers peaking in 2015, there is still a lot that can be done.

Photo credit: The Tall Hedonist, Timothy Gibson
Photo credit: The Tall Hedonist, Timothy Gibson

How does my contribution help?

Rhino conservation is not just about protecting these incredible animals. It’s also about fighting illegal rhino-horn trade globally,  and calling on experts, specialists and conservationists who can give the rhinos the best fighting chance in the future.

Your contribution helps the establishment and maintenance of anti-rhino poaching units. It goes towards community outreaches and initiatives where members are trained as part of these units. It assists in the training of specialist dogs, who help to track poachers and their activity. Vehicles, equipment, communications, administration, outreaches, awareness campaigns – the list of costs associated with these conservation efforts is endless.

The Rhino Run wines

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.

Rhino Run Chenin Blanc 2018

Tasting notes:  The wine has aromas of peaches and floral notes that lingers gently on the palate.
Cellar door price:   Approx. R60

Rhino Run Ian Player 2016

Tasting notes:  This wine has rich almond, plum and mint on the nose, followed by ripe berry, cassis and redcurrant on the palate. Good oaking ensures a soft, toasty finish.
In the vineyard:    This is a blend of two noble grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
In the cellar:   Vinified with minimal intervention in the natural process,allowing each cultivar to express its individual characteristics.
Cellar door price:   
approx. R71

The Little Hedonist’s food pairing suggestion: With the ripe, juicy stone-fruit flavours that are prevalent in both red and white wines, I thought it would only be suitable for me to make use of the abundance of nectarines we have during winter. 

You’re either a cooked fruit person or not. This is on the same level as the “pineapple on pizza” debate. I love cooking with fruit, and I felt that both these Rhino Run wines needed something light, something elegant, but something beautifully textured and layered, much like these two bottles.

I decided to pair the Rhino Run wines with oven-baked nectarines, stuffed with herbed goat’s cheese, wrapped in salty, rich prosciutto, and drizzled with thyme honey. This was the most delicious snack to serve on a late Saturday afternoon, leading into the indulgences of the weekend.

The baked nectarines picked up the juicy peachiness in the Chenin Blanc beautifully, whilst the wine softened the edges of the honeyed fruit and goat’s cheese.

With the Ian Player 2016 red, the goat’s cheese and prosciutto caused quite a stir, allowing all those gorgeous layers of the blend to identify themselves to your palate – the earthy elements that arose from this pairing was simply sublime.

In Conclusion

In a world where we all want to help fight one or all of the existential crises that we’re faced with, we need to remember that it all starts with small acts. Buy your wines consciously. Invest in brands that also invest in our future, and that, with their large-scale impacts and global projects, can facilitate change that was catalysed by our choices. No contribution is too small to make a difference.

I will always align myself with brands that contribute to environmental issues, and I’m incredibly happy to have come across this range of exquisite Rhino Run wines. 

Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.




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