Charles Back is the third generation owner of the South African wine and cheese estate, Fairview, in Paarl. Here he spends his days with his wife Diane and their Anatolian sheepdog, Anna. Charles has two grown-up children, Bridget and Jason. “Jason is a qualified commercial pilot, and as a day-job he looks after Fairview’s IT, while Bridget works as a creative strategist and producer at Design Indaba. Both kids are very much their own people!” Charles gushes.
Your life in the wine industry is stuff of legends—how have you applied your business philosophies to your parenting?
I like to support my children, to liberate them so they can reach their dreams and thereby live a happy and fulfilled life. In business, I play a significant role in facilitating the development of staff to grow and reach their full potential.
Why the decision to plant barbera on South African soil?
We decided to plant Barbera because of its natural high acidity, especially in warmer regions. This means that we don’t have to add any acid during winemaking.
How does our South African barbera square up to the Italian?
SA’s barbera tends to be much fuller and more complex than the Italian ones, where the grapes grow in cooler conditions. The Italian barbera is lighter in style and more fruit driven.
Where should we be planting barbera if we want it to thrive?
Barbera can be planted in most SA regions, although the grape is sensitive to sunburn in the areas that have warmer growing conditions.
What’s the most important thing a winemaker should do in the cellar?
The wine is best enjoyed in the fruitier style, so it’s important not to overwork the skins during fermentation. It’s also important not to use too much new wood in the maturation process.
What are some of the challenges of the cultivar?
You need to watch the sensitivity to sunburn in the vineyard; plus it also ripens fairly late, so canopy management is very important.
What food would you serve with Fairview’s Barbera?
Barbera, with its natural high acidity and fruit-forward flavours, is an ideal wine to enjoy with typical Mediterranean-style dishes. It will also work well with Karoo lamb chops or a good veal cut.
We’re giving away a case (12 bottles) of Italian inspired wine from Fairview Wine Estate in Paarl. This prize isd valued at R1 650 and includes six bottles of Fairview Barbera 2016 as well as six bottles of Fairview Homtini 2015 (a sangiovese-led blend). To enter, simply complete the entry form below. Terms and conditions apply. Competition ends 30 June 2018.