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The Rhino Tears range of wines, from the Mt Vernon estate in Cape Town, donates proceeds from every bottle sold to be used in the war against rhino poaching within South Africa’s national parks (SANParks). 

Rhino Tears wines has raised an impressive R1 million since their launch to be used in the war against rhino poaching in South Africa’s national parks. The money raised has been paid over directly to SANParks Honorary Rangers who have used the funds for anti-poaching projects in SANParks.

The idea for the wine came about when Mt Vernon MD, John Hooper, met with John Turner, Chairman of the SANParks Honorary Rangers Conservation Services Unit; and Andre Nel, owner of The Hat & Creek restaurants in Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa.

After spending a couple of days with the field rangers at the Kruger Wilderness Experience bush camp in the Kruger National Park, the idea for a wine that could raise money for anti-poaching efforts was developed.

“I have had an inherent love for wildlife and as a child we would be fortunate to spend our holidays in the bush, fishing or in remote locations”, explains Hooper.

“The selling and marketing of wine is difficult and competitive, but it is rewarding. When an opportunity arises to mix work with pleasure, I jumped at the chance to give something back and spend time with good people fighting a worthy cause.”

“After discussions developed with the SANParks Honorary Rangers, I had a good idea on how the costs would work, as it was important to be able to develop something in which the ultimate beneficiaries were the rhinos themselves. It was up to me to create a good quality wine, design an attractive and iconic label endorsed by SANParks, and make sure it was in stores and readily available,” Hooper continued.

Hooper realised that he needed to create a good quality wine that wine lovers around the world would appreciate. An important point to consider, though, was selling a wine that people would buy often and could enjoy immediately, as this would mean more for anti-poaching than a wine that would have be stored in a cellar for years before drinking.

The result is a good red blend made from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage grapes that allows for easy drinking and appeals to all levels of palate. The white is a delightful fruit driven Chenin Blanc, suitable for enjoying at all occasions. The sweet Rosé, which is the latest addition to the brand, is a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Chenin Blanc blend, with a tropical fruit on the nose and palate.

R15 from each bottle goes directly to SANParks Honorary Rangers and wine lovers can be confident that 100% of the funds raised through sales of Rhino Tears are used for anti-poaching projects in SANParks.

“Every bottle purchased really makes a difference. The costs of the anti-poaching war is expensive and the men and women involved need all they can get against a ruthless enemy. We have the opportunity to save the rhino from extinction; never has the call been greater or the opportunity more urgent than it is now. Thank you to those who have helped us reach R1 million in donations,” said John Hooper, founder of Rhino Tears.

Earlier this year Rhino Tears funds contributed towards the delivery of two John Deere Gator Extreme Terrain Vehicles (ETVs), valued at R700 000, for anti-poaching operations in the Kruger National Park. Funds also contributed to the delivery of equipment valued at R1,6m to field rangers. This donation included tents, rifle slings, sleeping bags, camping equipment, rifle cleaning kits, back-packs and various other essential items for use by the rangers in anti-poaching operations.

SANParks Honorary Rangers Chairperson Louis Lemmer said: “In the war against poachers, rangers have to endure extreme hardships – being away from their families and facing constant dangers from poachers. So, if we as SANParks Honorary Rangers can make a difference, by making their work easier, we are adding to their effectiveness in the bush. The equipment supplied to the field rangers answers that need.”

The finalists in our 2017 Photographer of the Year competition will each win a case of Rhino Tears wine!

Rhino Tears wine is available for purchase in major retailers around South Africa, including Pick n Pay, Makro, Tops, Spar, Fruit and Veg City and major independent retailers. It can also ordered online at www.rhinotears.co.za. Those supporters who wish not to purchase wine can make a donation via the Rhino Tears SMS donation line. SMS the word Rhino to 38730 and R10 will be collected for the campaign.

Ndumu River Lodge
Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year

The Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year Competition is brought to you by Land Rover and Canon, in association with At Close Quarters, Airlink, Klaserie Sands River Camp, Hideaways, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Thule and Rhino Tears. The competition will run from December 2016 to May 2017 and entrants can submit images via the online entry form or via Africa Geographic's Instagram channel. This profile will be used to showcase photographic tips from experts as well as blogs from our sponsors to set you on your way to becoming our Photographer of the Year!