Fairview Wine and Cheese Estate

Fairview's Goats Image source

An immigrant from Lithuania, the young Charles Back I, landed on these shores in 1902. With a strong work ethic and passion for wine, he soon built up a booming wine export business. Upon his death in 1955, he bequeathed a wine farm to each of his two sons, in whom he’d also instilled a spirit of endeavour. One son, Cyril Back received Fairview, where he lived with his wife Beryl. Together, they successfully bottled their own wine for the first time in 1974, and initiated the Cape’s first public wine auction as a vehicle to market the fledgling Fairview wines. Their son, Charles Back II, started farming with Cyril in 1978, upon completion of his oenological training at Elsenburg. In 1995, Charles Back II took over full responsibility for the farm upon his father’s passing. From the start, Charles wanted to do things differently – introducing Mediterranean grapes such as Viognier, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah to the Cape. He also began to make artisanal cheese – a business that has gone on to become every bit as prestigious and successful as wine. In 2014, when Charles received the International Wine Challenge Lifetime Achievement, in his characteristic humility, he expressed “But I have barely begun to achieve what I want to achieve!”.
The Fairview Tasting Room is one of the most popular Cape winelands destinations, building on a reputation that stretches back to the 1970's! The world-renowned tasting room consists of 4 unique, barrel-shaped ‘pods’ that facilitate a welcoming and more social tasting. Our custom-designed pods offer a tasting selection of 6 different wines with dedicated hosts to guide and assist guests. We are committed to ensuring that we always have a diverse range of wines available for our visitors to choose from, including a selection of wines exclusive to our cellar door. Your tasting also includes an expertly paired selection of 6 Fairview cow and goat’s milk cheeses. 
Named after Charles Back’s late mother, the Beryl Back Master Tasting Room continues to practice the legacy of warmth and hospitality that Beryl so lovingly instilled. Thanks to a long-held reputation for our exceptional customer service, Fairview has one of the most sought-after tastings in the winelands. Managed by our highly qualified Tasting Hosts, the elegant, Beryl Back tasting room is set apart from the main tasting area, offering seated, tutored tastings in an exclusive, educational setting. To ensure a fresh experience for all our visitors, our team regularly plans varying tasting options and recommendations depending on season, trend and vintage releases. To top the experience off, each Master Tasting comes with carefully paired Fairview cheese, freshly baked artisanal bread and our farm-made olive oil.
“Fairview has grown from strength to strength, but it would not have been so if it wasn’t for my mother’s constant support, virtue and nurturing nature. I made our La Beryl Blanc dessert wine to honour my late mother, creating a traditional straw-dried sweet wine that is fragrant, succulent and with balanced finesse.”
-CHARLES BACK
The Fairview Deli, located in our Tasting Room, is always bustling with activity, inviting visitors to browse the layers of delicious condiments and old-fashioned jams to free-range farm eggs and our unmissable artisanal breads. Our Fairview cheese is undoubtably the biggest draw card, with a range of over 50 cow’s milk and goat’s milk cheeses, including white mould, blue mould, feta and cream cheese styles available, while our newest addition of farm reared, free-range meat is quickly becoming a popular attraction!
Rising above the Goatshed Restaurant stands our Goat Tower. Adored by children and adults alike, it has been home, to our beloved furry mascots since 1981. 
The tale of our Goat Tower is a special one. In the early 80s, Charles set off on a trip to Portugal. Upon one of his producer visits, he spotted the original tower and was completely inspired. A few months later, the now iconic Goat Tower was built. Soon after, Charles’s young son Jason accidentally left the gate open to the paddock, and so the little group happily roamed among the vineyards, showing rare discernment by selecting some of the ripest berries from the vines – their adventures being the inspiration behind our Goats Do Roam range. The rest is history, and it comes as little surprise that we’ve selected our cheese makers, smile givers and beloved furry friends as our very own mascot, used to symbolize Fairview!                   
Fairview bakes fresh bread daily, being it crispy ciabatta, a honey and oat loaf or a rich-textured rye! bakers are up with the birds, kneading and rolling out hand-made dough to bring you a variety of scrumptious baked goods, including buttery croissants, healthy seed loaf and our very popular salty bretzels every day. Also, every Easter our bakers are busy at work making dozens of mosbolletjies – a farm favourite. Best described as a sweet brioche, the dough is made using the leftover must of our freshly pressed grapes and is not to be missed! Exclusively available from the Fairview Deli Shop and Goatshed restaurant (well, or as long as stocks last!).

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Last updated : 16-Sep-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 04-Sep-2017