The French leader Napoleon Bonaparte is alleged to have been so enamoured by Constantia wine that he once had 300 gallons shipped to him… and is claimed to have refused to drink anything else from his deathbed.
The South African wine region of the Constantia Valley stretches up the south-east slopes of the Table Mountain National Park near Cape Town and remains the oldest wine producing region in the southern hemisphere with a history of viniculture dating back to 1685.
Although Pinotage is South Africa’s signature wine, Constantia wineries are more recognised for producing their eponymous sweet dessert wine, which is made from Muscat Blanc and Petit Grains grapes that are grown across the region. The Constantia Valley wine route is regarded as one of the most spectacular wine experiences in the world courtesy of breathtaking landscapes, unrivalled heritage and 10 wine estates ranging from traditional homesteads to new stylish boutique wineries.
At Wine Paths, our local experts can organise exclusive tours of Constantia wineries that can be tailor-made to meet your specific needs, ensuring every detail is taken care of.
Among our favourite Constantia wineries, is the Klein Constantia, which has been described as one of the world’s most beautiful wine farms, with a setting between ancient trees on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg overlooking False Bay. It also produces arguably the best sweet, natural wine in Vin de Constance.
Steenberg Estate, which is one of the oldest wine farms in the region. It has come a long way since its inception in 1682 and now offers visitors a complete experience that includes the five-star Steenberg Hotel, a choice of award winning restaurants and, of course, 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.
At the opposite end of the time spectrum is boutique winery Constantia Glen, which was only reinstated as a wine farm in the 1990s and has since become known for its bespoke premium wines. The family-owned estate has gone to great lengths to create world class wines that are a ‘true expression’ of the Cape winelands. Our 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.
Other high-class Constantia wineries include:
Groot Constantia, the oldest Constantia winery with a long legacy of producing superlative wines – including the Grand Constance favoured by Napoleon – that can be tasted on exclusive cellar tours.
Check out our destination's guide for more information on Constantia wineries before planning an African adventure fitting for a French emperor. Because if Napoleon wouldn’t accept anything less than Constantia’s finest wines, why should you?
Photo credit: Groot Constantia & Wines of South Africa
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