2009 – Charles Back

The ICWM Wine Personality Award of 2009 was presented to wine legend Charles Back of Fairview at a glittering black tie event held at the impressive KWV Cathedral Cellar in Paarl, on the 9th of May.

It is said that wine is made in the vineyard, but it is the influence of exceptional people in the wine industry who capture what nature has given them, in a glass for all to experience and enjoy. Charles Back is one of those exceptional people in our wine industry. Charles is a man of vision and has a fine-tuned business sense. He is passionate about the soil, vineyards and wine.

Under his guidance, the family farm Fairview has developed into one of the bright stars of the South African wine industry. Charles’ wine making vision for Fairview, and where he sees the farm and the South African industry in the future, has taken him all over the world. Through his travels he has developed an immense knowledge of winemaking practices and trends, and has applied and shared this knowledge back in South Africa.

Charles’ role has evolved over time. He is still very much involved in the winemaking process, but devotes increasing amounts of his time to the development of new sites, collaborations with others in the industry, and the achieving of his long term goals for Fairview.

In 1997, he initiated the development of the Fairvalley Workers Association, in conjunction with local government. He donated funds to purchase a 38 acre farm near Fairview. The association is an economic development initiative, and the workers, who have served Fairview for many years, are now producing their own wine, and plan to build more houses and facilities on the land. Charles provides cellar space for the production of the Fairvalley wines at no cost.

The ICWM presented the annual award to Charles in recognition of his success on the local and export markets and his passionate role in the industry.


From left to right: Charles Back and Bennie Howard (Chairman ICWM)