Charles Back becomes the most awarded winemaker in South Africa!

Charles Back

Charles Back becomes the most awarded winemaker in South Africa!

We’re thrilled to share that Fairview’s Charles Back has been awarded the 1659 Wine Industry Medal of Honour for 2017! In his acceptance speech, Charles stated that ‘the cornerstone of any business is integrity… this award brings added responsibility, including environmental and social upliftment.’

The recipient of the 1659 Honorary Award is chosen by a panel of wine industry stalwarts and presented to an individual who has created a legacy and played a profound role in the wine industry. This award is the highlight of the annual Blessing of the Harvest ceremony, held on 2 February 2017 at Groot Constantia, South Africa’s first wine estate, which was founded in 1685. The year 1659 marks the year when the first grapes were pressed in the country for the making of wine.

The Back family stems from a lineage of great entrepreneurs, innovators and winemakers. They are the first family to receive this award for the second time – Charles’ uncle, Sydney Back, is a previous recipient of the same award. Charles himself is no stranger to accolades.

In 1996 the South African magazine WINE voted Charles as the second most influential person in the country’s wine industry, after Nelson Mandela. The same year he was also named as the John Platter Winemaker of the year.

In 2004, Charles was awarded the title of Wine Personality of the Year in The International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). Fairview has also received the Dave Hughes Trophy for the best South African red wine from the IWSC.

In 2014 Charles was honored with the International Lifetime Achievement Award by the most prestigious wine competition in the world, The International Wine Challenge (IWC). The IWC is accepted as the world’s finest, most meticulously judged competition. He accepted the award with his characteristic humility, and expressed: “But I have barely begun to achieve what I want to achieve!”

Charles strives to ensure that Fairview is constantly driven by its three key values. These are:authenticity, heritage, and ensuring that ingenuity perpetually flows from the soil to the cellar. He is known for his polite, friendly, warm, articulate and elegant manner and his ability to always look for the next innovative idea. His integrity goes far beyond his enduring relationships with the 500 people with whom he works.

He has been recognised for his work in introducing Mediterranean grapes such as Viognier, Tempranillo, Tannat, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah to South Africa. He also pioneered the “Swartland Revolution” and has been instrumental in shaping the future of wine tourism in the country through the introduction of artisanal cheese and the establishment of the Spice Route Destination in Paarl. He is also the first to afford land and company ownership to previously disadvantaged wine farm workers, to name just a few of his many achievements…

Congratulations Charles! Here’s to YOUR life! See gallery below: