Winemaking at South Africa’s Fairview Estate goes back a long way with first official tax records in 1699 showing barrels of wine on an audit. The estate, in the heart of the Paarl wine district outside Cape Town, underwent a complicated financial history, being declared insolvent no fewer than eight times. Luckily, it was bought in 1937 by a Lithuanian immigrant who completely turned its fortunes around. A self-taught winemaker, Charles Back Senior was a man of resourcefulness and determination who soon managed to produce award-winning wines. Fairview has remained in the safe hands of the Back family ever since and continues to prosper nowadays with imaginative current owner, Charles Back Junior, at the helm.
As well as wine, Fairview is home to a herd of around 600 cheese-producing goats which supply the milk for an impressive range of artisan and speciality cheeses made here. The goats have even inspired a premium range of wines, mischievously called Goats do Roam , made from Rhône grape varieties. These Rhône-influenced blends include grapes from the other regions where Fairview has holdings including the Swartland and Darling.
Overall, the combination of wine and cheese has proved extremely popular among local and international tourists, making Fairview one of the most visited attractions in all of the Cape winelands. From its days as one of the Cape’s earliest wine farms at the turn of the 17th century, to its current position as one of South Africa’s most successful, stable wine businesses, the fortunes of Fairview have come full circle.