Lying in the Cape’s winemaking cradle, the Constantia Valley remains the oldest wine producing region in the southern hemisphere with a history of viticulture dating back to 1685.
Historically, this is where the first vineyards were planted in South Africa by early Dutch settlers – while the region’s heritage includes a love affair with former French leader Napoleon Bonaparte, who is said to have refused to drink anything other than Constantia wine from his deathbed. Constantia wine farms were traditionally associated with the eponymous sweet dessert wines, but have since become notable for their Sauvignon Blancs. And, the region’s renowned wine route is one of the most beautiful and well-travelled in South Africa. There are eight award-winning Constantia wine farms that are open to the public, with many including elaborate wine tastings and tours, luxury accommodation and gourmet food experiences.
Constantia wine farms were traditionally associated with the eponymous sweet dessert wines, but have since become notable for their Sauvignon Blancs. And, the region’s renowned wine route is one of the most beautiful and well-travelled in South Africa.
Wine farms in Constantia include:
Klein Constantia has been described as one of the world’s most beautiful wine farms in Constantia, with a setting between ancient trees on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg cooled by the breeze from False Bay. It also produces arguably the best sweet, natural wine, Vin de Constance.
The Steenberg Estate has a history dating back to 1682, although this Constantia wine farm has come a long way and now features the five-star Steenberg Hotel, a choice of award winning restaurants and the opportunity to taste some of the country’s finest Sauvignon Blanc wines.
Our wine tasting and cellar tour of Steenberg takes guests on a guided walk through the vineyards, which offers extraordinary views, and cellar facilities before sampling the estate’s flagship wines in their beautifully constructed tasting room or on an outdoor terrace.
The Constantia Glen is a smaller boutique estate that was only reinstated as a wine farm in Constantia in the 1990s and has since gained a reputation for its bespoke wines.
Wine Paths’ single day tour of Constantia Glen offers visitors the opportunity to meet with the owner and winemaker before being guided around the vineyards and cellar, tasting a range of wines accompanied by a cheese and charcuterie platter, and leaving with a premier bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Groot Constantia is recognised as the oldest wine farm in Constantia with a long legacy of producing superlative wines – including the Grand Constance favoured by Napoleon – that can be tasted on exclusive cellar tours.
Buitenverwachting lives up to its name, meaning ‘beyond expectations’. As one of the oldest Constantia wine farms, it was once part of the region’s original estate founded by Simon van der Stel and remains one of the most beautiful places to sample wine in the world.
Silvermist Vineyards straddle the neck of the local mountain range, giving breathtaking views in either direction. As a completely organic Constantia wine farm, the natural vegetation grows alongside vineyards creating a rich biodiversity – while ducks have been used to provide both pest control and fertilisation.
Constantia Ustig is another estate with stunning views that holds biodiversity in high regard. And, with the highly acclaimed Open Door restaurant, it also offers one of the best food experiences that wine farms in Constantia have to offer.
Eagles Nest is cradled high on the slopes of a valley in the Constantia mountain range and was previously used as a refreshment station for travellers. Refreshment now comes in the form of painstakingly produced Shiraz, as well as Merlot and Viognier wines.
Beau Constantia is a modern styled boutique Constantia wine farm perched on a mountain top with stunning views over False Bay, featuring some of the steepest slopes in the Cape. Its debut, Beau Constantia Cecily Viognier 2010, received the award for the best Viognier at the 2011 Novare Terroir Wine Awards.
Take a lot at our South Africa destination guide for more information on Constantia wine farms and start planning an African adventure to a place whose wines have been enjoyed by Napoleon, Charles Dickens and Jane Austin.