In 1997, Charles Back, having established Fairview as one of South Africa’s most commercially successful and popular wine estates, bought a farm called Klein Amoskuil near Malmesbury in the Swartland region north-west of Paarl, then rather better known for its wheat than its wine. It was the next step in applying his philosophy to ‘go where the terroir is’. Says Back: ‘I wanted to break away from the estate concept, which constrains a property owner, not necessarily blessed with the best viticultural land, from exploring the wine styles and levels of quality he aspires to. For me the quality of the wine became more important than the name of its source.’
The relaxation of legislation confining wine growers from producing in designated areas gave the entrepreneurial Back free rein to set out and find new vineyard sites to expand beyond what his inherited farm,
Fairview, could offer in terms of new styles of wine, particularly reds, expressive of the Cape’s Meditteranean climate. He found it in the combination of mixed clay-gravel laterite and deep, red, decomposed granite soils of Klein Amoskuil.