Groot Constantia – blending Olde Worlde charm with modern day passion

Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest wine farm – in existence for 328 years this year. Wine has been produced on the estate without interruption since 1685 and in fact, Groot Constantia bottles, bottle shards and bottle seals dating from as far back as 1774 have been found in far corners of the world in some unusual circumstances.

Groot Constantia

Treasure hunters and archaeologists finding Groot Constantia bottles

One bottle was found at the bottom of the ocean in the archipelago outside Stockholm in the late 1940s by a diver; three bottles were discovered in the cellar of a castle near Belgium that date to the period 1760 – 1840; a bottle piece featuring the Constantia bottle seal was discovered on a beach in the Delaware Bay and identified by historians to be part of the cargo of the Severn – a ship that was stranded there in 1774; another find was a very crude example of the Constantia wine seal – evidently far older than all the other examples – which was unearthed in an excavation in Meiningen in Germany.

The nation’s wine estate

Commander Simon van der Stel of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was originally granted the land on which Groot Constantia stands, on 13th July 1685. It has changed hands many times over the centuries of course and now Groot Constantia is a National Monument and a living museum with the task of preserving the history and cultural legacy of the South African wine industry for the people of South Africa.

Groot Constantia

The current owners of the estate, the Groot Constantia Trust, a non-profit company, has ensured that Groot Constantia is beautifully maintained and operated to the highest standards – delivering a top-quality experience to visitors.

New wine label launched

It is in honour of Groot Constantia’s rich history as the origin of the South African wine industry that the estate decided to resurrect and re-use an original, historic wine label, which prominently features a sketch of the Manor House at the top, and now an exact replica of this label appears on the Gouverneurs Reserve range of wines.

There’s more…

The estate boasts two top-notch restaurants, Jonkershuis and Simon’s where visitors can eat after they have finished exploring the beautiful old manor house, Iziko Museum and its surroundings. Visitors can also enjoy a cellar tour and for those looking for something a little more sedate you can spend time relaxing in the shade of the old oak trees.

And of course there is the wine tasting!

Groot Constantia recently upgraded one of the tasting rooms and this revitalised space reflects how the estate blends the old with the new. Visitors can relax in this fresh, modern and light room whilst sipping on Groot Constantia wines that are made the old fashioned way – with attention to detail, to exacting standards, with pure ingredients that are harvested by hand and packaged in bottles labelled with the historical label.

At the recent Top 100 SA Wines 2013 awards held on 11th April 2013, four Groot Constantia’s wines achieved Top 100 status. These wines are the Chardonnay 2012, Grand Constance 2010, Shiraz 2010 and Gouverneurs reserve Red 2010.

Groot Constantia

This is the only wine farm that is a member of the Big Six tourist destinations in Cape Town (the other members include Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch and Cape Point) and it is easy to see why when you visit and spend time at this special National Monument.

Comments (3)

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  1. Rose says:

    It is always refreshing to discover a new twist to a region that most people associate with safaris and beaches. A fascinating article!

  2. Johan Horak says:

    Hi Great article on a great place. We live close-by and I am always amazed that people visiting Cape Town is not aware of the Constantia wine Route on their doorstep.

    You would not believe looking at these photos that Groot Constantia is amongst the out lying suburbs of Cape Town. And about 20 mins from Cape Town CBD.

  3. Many visitors forget about the Constantia area, and feel they have to travel to Stellenbosch or Franschhoek to experience South Africa’s finest wines. The Constantia offers great wines, and one can easily fit it in with more attractions in the area and do not require a full day.

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