The first wine was made on this farm in 1699. Much later, in 1902, Lithuanian immigrant, Charles Back, arrived in South Africa and soon built up a booming wine export business. Upon his death in 1955, he bequeathed a wine farm to each of his two sons. 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 took over full responsibility for the farm upon his father’s passing and introduced Mediterranean grapes such as Viognier, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah to the Cape. He also began to make artisanal cheese – which has gone on to become every bit as successful as the wine.
La Beryl Blanc is a traditional straw wine or ‘vin de paille’-style dessert wine. The grapes are allowed to dry on straw mats prior to fermentation, raising the sugar levels and intensifying the flavours. It is made using 73% Chenin Blanc grapes from a very old vineyard grown on decomposed granite soil with koffieklip subsoils, and 27% Muscat de Frontignan, harvested at Fairview. It was named after Charles Back’s mother.