Paarl, South Africa
See Fairview wines we sell
Fairview is renowned for its innovative yet down-to-earth approach to winemaking: it aims to produce flavorful, stylish wines that offer excellent value for money. The land that is now known as Fairview on the slopes of the Paarl Mountain was bought in 1937 by Charles Back, an immigrant from Lithuania and grandfather of the present owner, and his namesake. There was a wine cellar on the property, and Charles Sr. decided to plant shy-bearing vines suited to the poor soil and limited water supply.
The work of replanting the vineyards with noble varieties was continued after Charles’s death in 1955 by his son Cyril, who also bottled the first wines at Fairview in 1974—the year when South Africa’s first ever wine auction was held at the farm.
It was Cyril who also introduced Fairview’s famous herd of milking goats in 1980, and wine lovers looking for organically grown grapes will be interested to know that the goats and other farm animals provide virtually all the fertilizer used at Fairview.
Cyril was joined by his son Charles in 1978 upon completion of his studies at Elsenburg. After Cyril’s death in 1995, Charles took over ownership of Fairview and continued with the programs started by his father and grandfather. His innovative approach captured attention immediately, and he was named Winemaker of the Year by John Platter’s Wine Guide in 1996.
Fairview now has about 320 hectares under vine, including the original vineyards on the slopes of the Paarl Mountain, extensive dryland bush vine vineyards near Malmesbury, and a 150-hectare farm in the Perdeberg area. About 25 hectares of vines are being replanted each year, and eventually more than 75 percent will be planted to red varietals.
Charles Back sees similarities between the terroir of Fairview and that of the Rhône, and he will be concentrating on noble varietals like his favorite Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as more unusual ones like Malbec, Zinfandel and Mouvedre. In typical style, he anticipated the coming popularity of Viognier and planted that varietal more than 5 years ago—once again placing Fairview at the forefront of a trend.
As a tribute to his father and mentor, Charles reserves the most exciting wine from each vintage for the Cyril Back label, which has become known for its quality, character and flair.
Charles Back with winemakers Anthony de Jager and Awie Adolf oversee the entire winemaking process, from the vineyards to the vinification, bottling and marketing. The winery has a production capacity of more than 1 million liters, and the most modern techniques are used. Most of the white wines are barrel fermented, and red wines are given extensive barrel maturation. The flagship Shiraz spends 14 months in a combination of older French and newer American oak.
Fairview has won numerous accolades over the years, including gold Veritas awards and gold medals at the International Wine Challenge in London.