Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest producing wine farm, established in 1685, only 3 years older to the next oldest wine farm, Blaauwkippen wine farm when the first vines where planted.
In 1679 Simon Van der Stel of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) arrived in Table Bay as the new Governor of the Cape. The land was granted to Simon Van der Stel in 1685, which he named Constantia, either after the VOC ship named Constantia, or after Van Goen’s daughter in honour of his assistance in the Constantia land-grant, or it could possibly be after the Latin word for steadfastness or constancy.
The Constantia farm was chosen for the cultivation of vineyards for its fertile soil and gentle mountain slopes which are cooled by ocean breezes during the hot summers in False Bay.
Owing to Simon Van der Stel’s experience in viticulture in the Netherlands, his Constantia wyn became an enormous success, reaching soaring prices in auctions of European cities and attracting the attention of Emperors and Kings: Frederick the Great of Prussia and King Louis Phillipe of France.
Today Constantia Wines are award-winning and still famous across the world.
Notable attractions of Groot Constantia:
1. Simon’s Restaurant
Simon’s restaurant offers food made with local, fresh and seasonal Cape ingredients. They offer picnics, a deli café and an a la carte restaurant with some great options: everything from roast lamb to burgers, fish and chips.
2. Cloete Cellar and Production Cellar
Learn more about wine production at the original wine cellar at Groot Constantia, the Cloete Cellar, and discover the Production cellar. Tours, information boards and displays are available.
Chocolate and wine pairing, and wine tastings are available for you to sample the legendary wines.
There are a couple of locations to sit and eat at the Jonkershuis restaurant: the courtyard, outdoor dining by the lawn, private banqueting and quiet fire-side dining.
Food options include some local Cape-Malay varieties.
4. Manor House
Discover the Manor house, build in Cape Dutch architecture in the 17th century which today hosts an exhibition focusing on the history of Groot Constantia and the life of the slaves who lived during the early colonisation of the Cape.
The Manor house also showcases how the house would have decorated and furnished from when it was built.
5. The vines overlooking the bay
Walking around the farm, you get an appreciation for the beautiful view looking out over the vineyards with the bay and mountains in the distance.