Goats in general like climbing things. So in 1981, inspired by a tower that he had spotted in a garden at Sogrape Vinhos (Portugal), Fairview Wine and Cheese estate owner Charles Back decided to build something intended for the pleasure of his herd of 750 odd Saanen (Swiss mountain) goats.
And so the world’s first ever purpose-built goat tower was born.
Built out of brick and mortar with a steep metal roof and a spiraling wooden staircase (with windows), the Fairview Goat Tower quickly became a symbol of the Paarl winelands, turning these goats into probably some of the most photographed livestock in South Africa!
(Fairview Estate was one of the first estates to open to the public, a leader in the wine tourism economy. In other words, they had tourists, and tourists of course loved the goats!)
With the tower now a symbol of and featuring heavily in the branding of the Fairview Winery, the Fairview team also produced a wine called “Goats do Roam,” a play on the French wine growing region Côtes du Rhône.
In 2007 a replica tower was opened by Charles Back at the Ekeby farm in Norway as part of a collaborative intiative, and in 2011 another replica was built on the Finca el Rocio farm in Argentina.
Of course, there are now other famous goat towers across the world, including the massive six-story, 31-foot-tall Tower of Baaa, constructed by farmer David Johnson, to serve his herd of 34 Saanen milk goats in Findlay, Illinois (USA).
(Though perhaps, just don’t get the goat tower tattoo as Elisabeth Holm, chef at Ekeby apparently did…)
2017-04-22 Update: The girls and I did eventually get to see the goat tower for ourselves!