Spice Route: About Us

The new age of the Swartland commenced in 1997 when Charles Back stumbled across an old Tobacco farm, Klein Amoskuil, with a peculiar vineyard of Sauvignon Blanc – later to be discovered as the oldest in the country – just West of his native Paarl. Bewildered by its quality in a region better known for its wheat and rolling fynbos hills, the potential was obvious, so Charles set forth to acquire the farm and study its soils and extreme climate.

Hence Spice Route Winery was born. Digging up soils to understand the geological patchwork which would be the foundation of this viticultural frontier, transforming old tobacco sheds into a small winery, tailored to the intense style of wine which the old Klein Amoskuil farm would produce.

About Spice Route

Charles Back founded the Spice Route Winery in 1997. Charles had bought the farm Klein Amoskuil, and this Malmesbury based farm is now home to Spice Route's Swartland terroir styled wines. The Spice Route Winery has found its signature wine style in the warm rolling hills along the Cape West Coast. Matching traditional practices in the vineyards with modern, minimalist approaches in the cellar, they produce exceptionally ripe and deep-flavoured wines. The deep red soils sustain unirrigated bush vine through the long warm summers. Cool Atlantic breezes rolling in overnight temper these harsh conditions. In its few years since inception had a stratospheric climb into the top echelons of the South African wine industry.

About Charl du Plessis
Born and raised in Mossel Bay in South Africa, Charl moved down to the Cape and attended Elsenburg Agriculture College in Stellenbosch from 1989 to 1991, completing a three year course in Viticulture and wine cellar technology. He started work at Boland Cellar in 1992 as an assistant winemaker and was promoted to senior winemaker at Boland Cellar in 1996, a position he held until 1999. During this time Charl worked with Anthony de Jager (who would later take up a position at Fairview Wine Estate) as well as spending a harvest in Burgundy in 1997, at Piére Bouree & Fills in Chevrey-Chambertin.?At the end of 1999 Charl moved to a brand new cellar in Tulbagh – Rijk’s Private Cellar. Moving to Rijk’s after eight years at a big co-operative, was quite an adjustment, but was an exciting and dramatic change. It proved to be the correct move and Rijk’s Private Cellar received numerous awards in the first two years of existence.?After two vintages (2000 and 2001) at Rijk’s, Charl was approached by Spice Route owner Charles Back, who had had a keen eye on Charl for a while. He offered him the winemaker position at Spice Route, and from his first day he has never looked back.?Charl is married to Michelle and they have two daughters. He enjoys cycling and diving, and is a passionate golfer.

For more information visit www.spiceroutewines.co.za

Spice Route Winery