Groot Constantia: Second time's a charm
What do Napoleon Bonaparte, Jane Austen and King George V have in common? These and many influential history greats have either been to or sampled a glass of wine at Groot Constantia in the Western Cape.
Known as the oldest wine-producing farm in South Africa, Groot Constantia celebrates its 334th birthday this year. The estate produces three white wines, a rosé, an MCC, eight red wines, a Cape Ruby, a brandy and their Grand Constance sweet wine.
Their Visitor Route offers travellers a bit of everything and is cost-effective for those on a tight budget.The route was designed for travellers to experience the best of the wine farm on their terms.
Special audio tours can be downloaded through an app, and do not worry about data costs as Constantia offers free wi-fi for visitors. Also packed into the route is an informative 30-minute cellar tour. Our guide Chuumani Mabuto enlightened us on the process of producing the wines and where it all started.
Simon van der Stel, the governor of the Cape Colony, was granted Constantia in 1685. The property has changed significantly since offering guests an array of activities. Van der Stel’s homestead remains intact.
The property is now a Provincial Heritage Site and a living museum. The estate intends to continue to preserve the history and cultural legacy of the South African wine industry. After the tour, visitors go to the tasting room where they can sample a range of white and red wines, or pair their wines with chocolate.Wine experts are on hand to offer pairing advice and insight into the various wines.Visitors can also explore the vineyards on their own with the selected audio tours.
I recommend a few selfies with the vineyard or mountain as your backdrop. Constantia has many other sumptuous views that will beautify your Instagram feed nicely.
Groot Constantia offers two restaurants, Jonkershuis and Simon’s. Jonkershuis is surrounded by ancient oak trees while Simon’s offers al fresco dining on the terrace. You can also order a picnic basket to enjoy on the lawns.Make sure you capture a video of the ducks who don't mind the attention.
I must admit that the wine farm has improved since I last visited in 2016; everything is more structured. I love their creative approach in drawing travellers to their wine farm, especially since the Western Cape has hundreds of them all over the province.