San Antonio Zoo Offers Wine That Supports Wildlife Conservation

Photo: San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo is teaming up with Kerrville Hills Winery to create Conservino, a wine that will support wildlife conservation efforts. All proceeds from sales of Conservino will support San Antonio Zoo-led conservation efforts. The zoo has also offered other wildlife-supportive beverages, such as Conserveza beer. Conservino is sold at certain locations in San Antonio.

"We are thrilled to launch Conservino wine with our new partners at Kerrville Hills Winery," said Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. "Our very own COO, Jesse Vargas, John and his winery team have created two incredible tasting wines for us that will help grow and support our conservation programs."

Created from 100% Texas grapes showcasing the best of Texas wines, the Conservino wine project is a true collaboration of industries here in Texas. Conservino Red Wine offers a flavorful medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo blend, high in tannins with notes of black cherry and baking spice. Conservino White Wine provides a light, crisp Roussanne blend with notes of green fruit and apricot with chamomile undertones.

Conservino is the first and only Kerrville winery-produced wine supporting animal conservation. John Rivenburgh has a deep knowledge and wine-making talent derived from having completed 16 harvests in his career. John's wine-making approach is first to be a good steward of the land and the grapes in his care while limiting the environmental impact. San Antonio Zoo has always been special to John, and he looks forward to Conservino helping to secure a future for wildlife for years to come.

The Conservino Red Wine label features a gold-foiled Sumatran tiger, a critically endangered species whose population is believed to be fewer than 500 in the wild. The species' primary threats are habitat loss and degradation, poaching, tiger-human conflict, loss of prey, and other factors. The Conservino White Wine label features a gold-foiled southern white rhino, a species San Antonio Zoo is known worldwide for producing the first baby in the Americas in the 1970s. This species continues to make a comeback while its relative, the northern white rhino, is now functionally extinct, with only two individuals remaining.

"Animal species are inextricably intertwined with the land on which they live, and so are grape vines," said Jesse Vargas, Chief Operations Officer at San Antonio Zoo. "This first-of-its-kind collaboration between curator and winemaker will serve San Antonio Zoo's conservation efforts in Texas while supporting and promoting the Texas wine industry, the fastest-growing wine region in the country."

On average, San Antonio Zoo contributes approximately $1M annually to conservation through direct funds and research grants dedicated to programs geared towards species population status, habitat preservation, and direct work locally and globally. San Antonio Zoo is also involved in local community training and stewardship projects and participating in species reintroductions into wild habitats!

Starting in 2017, San Antonio Zoo partnered with Freetail Brewing Company on Conserveza, an American blonde ale named as a nod to both conservation and cerveza – the Spanish word for beer. Since the partnership began, they have featured beer can designs incorporating a reticulated giraffe, Mexican freetail bats, a jaguar, monarch butterflies, the Texas horned lizard, and most recently, a majestic blue and orange roadrunner. The beer has raised over $50,000 for global wildlife conservation programs since its conception. Conserveza can be purchased at San Antonio Zoo, bars, restaurants, and HEBs in San Antonio and New Braunfels.

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