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!”

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