On 13 July Cape Town’s iconic Groot Constantia Estate celebrates its 337th birthday, cementing its status as the oldest wine-producing farm in South Africa – and there is good reason to start celebrating early. Adding to the Estate’s reputation of consistent quality is its much-lauded flagship wine, Grand Constance, which recently received the National Wine Challenge Special Award for Wine Consistency and the Grand Cru ‘Best in Class’ Award.
Groot Constantia’s world-famous wine continues to shine as it claims the spot with one of three wines in South Africa which have achieved more than seven top 100 positions annually, with Grand Constance leading the charge with 11 wins over a period of 12 years. To this day, Grand Constance undeniably remains the grand dame of sweet wines.
Hundreds of years ago, the wine produced at Groot Constantia began to receive international acclaim for its superior quality, and emperors and kings – such as Frederick the Great of Prussia, Napoleon and Louis Philippe (King of the French) – were all known to be great lovers of Groot Constantia wines (translated Grand Constance into the French) which also means “consistency”.
“The iconic Grand Constance wine that we produce at Groot Constantia is in effect the essence of the Estate. We are immensely proud of our Grand Constance, and humbled to be able to continue to produce this wine, and for it to consistently bring home awards. It is a 300-year-old legacy that we are custodians of, and the team strives to ensure that we interpret and honour it meticulously so that this special wine can continue to be appreciated on a world stage,” says Groot Constantia winemaker, Boela Gerber.
As a provincial heritage site and a living museum, Groot Constantia has always been one of Cape Town’s most important destinations and is a member of the Cape Town Big 6 tourist attractions. It is not hard to see why the Estate is a favourite for locals and visitors alike – and has been for centuries.
Groot Constantia has been welcoming visitors to the Estate for more than 300 years and has a long track record as a must-visit location in the Cape. In fact, 160 years ago, JP Cloete (the then owner of Groot Constantia), produced one of the earliest known tourist attraction adverts in South Africa, marketing Groot Constantia and giving detailed directions to the Estate – making it the first-ever wine route map in SA. The advert also affirms Groot Constantia’s standing as the original source of the iconic Constantia Wines that have been celebrated across the world.
Groot Constantia Estate celebrates its 337th birthday
For the modern-day visitor – be it wine lovers, fun-seeking families, tourists, social explorers, or anyone looking for a memorable and unique location in the Cape – Groot Constantia offers a wonderful day out, immersed in a rich sense of history and wine culture, accompanied by gorgeous views and outdoor spaces, exceptional wines, delicious food and fun for the whole family.
To celebrate its birthday, the estate offers a Visitors Route Experience that allows you to walk back in time by following a specially designed circular route that takes visitors to the historical key attractions at Groot Constantia.
The original Manor House at Groot Constantia (which is an Iziko Museum) is the starting point for the Visitors Route Experience. After this, guests make their way to the famed Cloete Cellar, which is the original wine production cellar from 1791. This historic cellar was where the famous Grand Constance wine was produced, and now the cellar houses a museum and unique tasting room.
Old carriages, winemaking memorabilia and a collection of old Grand Constance bottles sourced from all over the world are among the things to see in the Cloete Cellar Museum. After exploring the modern production cellar for a tour and wine tasting, visitors are then welcome to venture into the vineyards for the self-guided audio Vineyard Tour to celebrate the estate’s birthday.
Groot Constantia has two top restaurants, Jonkershuis and Simon’s. Both have children’s menus and outdoor dining options. There is also free Wi-Fi at Groot Constantia, which covers an extensive area – including all of the buildings – making the enjoyment and exploration of the estate that much more fun as guests can share their experiences in real-time with friends and family across the world.
History is woven into the fabric of Groot Constantia’s story and from the moment visitors arrive they are connected to the rich past of the Cape and South Africa’s wine industry. However, Groot Constantia is about so much more than the past – the Estate is forward-thinking and focuses on creating spectacular inclusive experiences for the current-day visitor.
The estate is inviting wine lovers and casual visitors to come and enjoy the 337-year-old Groot Constantia birthday celebratory experience.
For more information visit www.grootconstantia.co.za or join the birthday celebrations with Groot Constantia via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @GrootConstantia.