| Charles Back | Owner: Fairview & The Spice Route Winery
Charles Back II started farming at Fairview with his late father 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. In 1998 Charles founded the Spice Route Winery just outside Malmesbury. This would prove to kick start the now infamous "Swartland Revolution". Under Charles' watchful eye, Fairview began to make artisanal cheese – a business that has gone on to become every bit as prestigious and successful as wine. In April 2006, South African WINE Magazine voted Back the second most influential person in the South African wine industry, after Nelson Mandela. In 2014, Charles received the International Wine Challenge Lifetime Achievement and in 2017 he was awarded the 1659 Wine Industry Medal of Honour for 2017, becoming the most awarded winemaker in South Africa. 2017 was also the year in which Charles received the coveted South African Farmer of the Year award. In his characteristic humility, he expresses “But I have barely begun to achieve what I want to achieve!”. Charles continues to be involved, hands-on, both at Fairview and Spice Route while also being involved in a number of socio-economic projects addressing issues in the surrounding communities.