Backsberg Estate Cellars

The philosophy of Backsberg remains that of providing pleasure and enjoyment to a broad range of wine lovers by producing wines not only with structure and finesse, but also with a high level of “drinkability”.

The philosophy of Backsberg remains that of providing pleasure and enjoyment to a broad range of wine lovers by producing wines not only with structure and finesse, but also with a high level of “drinkability”.

To put it simply, if you find our wines easy to drink then we are achieving what we want.

This philosophy has to exist under an overall umbrella of Care. Care of our land, our product and the people who work for us - and care of the environment in which we find ourselves.

Michael Back - Owner: Graduate of Stellenbosch University, joined the family business in 1976, impatient, reserved, back-room operator, enjoys building, creating and lateral thinking. Michael is passionate about environmental care.

John Spiers - CEO: Graduate of Rhodes University, joined Backsberg in 2005, from big corporate to medium size farming. Extensive experience in marketing and international business.

Clive Trent - Farm Manager: Graduate of Stellenbosch University, joined Backsberg in 1992, outgoing, forward thinking, loves change, a great teacher.

Alicia Rechner - Wine Maker: Alicia graduated in 1997 from the University of Stellenbosch Wine School. After 4 years of working in Europe and Australia as a flying winemaker, Alicia started making wines at Backsberg Estate Cellars in 2002. In 2008, Alicia took a 4 year break from Backsberg, working at corporate South African wineries and returned to join us again mid 2012 as Cellar master. Alicia is looking forward to once again, creating world class wines in the historic cellars of Backsberg.

Simon Back - Marketing Manager: After completing High School, Simon took a gap year. He studied French in Montpellier, worked a vineyard in California and worked and traveled in China. He then completed a four-year Business Science Economics Degree at the University of Cape Town. Simon joined his father Michael at the farm in January 2008. He is heading up marketing.

We currently have around 110 ha under vineyard and additional satellite vineyards in two other areas. Our vineyards are located along the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains, mid way between Paarl and Stellenbosch and some 40 minutes from Cape Town.

We are blessed with a wonderful climate; full sunny days in the summer and cold wet days in the winter - a great location to ‘grow’ wine.

For us the key to producing high quality fruit lies in the word ‘balance’. This word must apply in all our decisions from site selection, to style of trellis, canopy management and irrigation.

A question often asked by other growers of each other and wine writers of growers, is what is your yield per hectare. For us at Backsberg this question has been consigned to the bin and replaced with the question what is your yield per square meter of canopy. Given that the canopy or the leaves are the “factory” of the vine that ensure fruit concentration and ripeness, the issue is not yield per square meter of surface area but rather yield per square meter of “factory” that is balance.

An additional change in our thinking over the last number of years is to say that at the all critical time of harvesting we don’t simply harvest ripe fruit, but rather fruit form ripe vines. The holistic view again - all the aspects of the vine must show ripeness.

Backsberg’s wine making style is very much based on the kiss principle. i.e. “keep it simple stupid”.

In other words if we have not got it right in the vineyards we are not going to get it right in the cellar.

Winemaking is done with as little intervention as possible, but with Alicia holding the reigns of all the components of the cellar together with the sole aim of directing winemaking to produce wines with a high level of drinkability.

Wines which are seamless, i.e. wines where all the components of flavour are in harmony: fruit sweetness, tannin, acid and where the wines have been wood matured, barrel characteristics.

He has trained his staff well, and all quietly go about the business of winemaking in a diligent planned and organised manner.

The philosophy of Backsberg remains that of providing pleasure and enjoyment to a broad range of wine lovers by producing wines not only with structure and finesse, but also with a high level of ‘drinkability'; we are aiming for seamless wines.

Family Reserve Range: Family Reserve White Blend | Family Reserve Red Blend

Only produced in exceptional vintages from the very best vineyard blocks, no effort is spared to create these fine wines of true personality and distinction. The Family Reserve wines reflect the very best Backsberg has to offer.

Black Label Range: Sparkling MCC Brut | John Martin Reserve Sauvignon Blanc | Hillside Viognier | Pumphouse Shiraz | Klein Babylonstoren

The grapes used for this range of wines have been selected from top performing vineyards and produce individual, exciting wines. Underscoring this notion of individuality, the wines are named after a particular place or person integral to the farm’s history. While offering much enjoyment on release, the whites will benefit from 2 - 3 years of cellaring, and the reds will benefit from 8-10 years of maturation.

Premium Range: Chenin Blanc | Sauvignon Blanc | Chardonnay | Rosé | Dry Red | Pinotage | Merlot | Cabernet Sauvignon | Special Late Harvest

The Premium Range is our single varietal range. The objective with this range is to produce wines that express varietal character together with a sense of place, in an elegant and harmonious style. These wines are to be enjoyed on release.

Kosher Range: Sparkling MCC Brut | Chardonnay | Pinotage | Merlot | Kiddush

Our Kosher wines are made under the auspices of the Cape Town Beth Din and the OU of the United States. The wines are Mevushal and Kosher for Passover.

Tread Lightly by Backsberg (bottled in 1L PET): Chenin Blanc | Sauvignon Blanc | Merlot

Backsberg was the first winery in South Africa to bottle certified wine in PET. This wine range personifies our care and respect for the environment. Read about the launch of the Tread Lightly brand here.

Fortified & Sweet Wines: Pinneau | Cape Ruby (Port-style) | Brandy | Sydney Back NV | Sydney Back 10yr | Sydney Back First Distillation 20yr

Another unique feature of Backsberg is our brandy production. With characteristic determination, the late Sydney Back set out fo find the best methods to produce fine brandy equivalent to the great Congnacs of France, but with its own distinctive character. His perseverance and and skill were recognised at the International Wine and Spirit competition in London, where his first brandy release won the Domecq Trophy for the Best Brandy in the World.

Backsberg Estate Cellars