Experience a unique blend of wine farms centuries old interspersed with stylish new boutique wineries. Relax in a setting of unsurpassed beauty and South African heritage. Constantia, dubbed Cape Town’s vineyard offers a quick city escape into stunning mountain countryside.
On the doorstep of South Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, Cape Town, tucked away in its southern suburbs, is the historic wine-growing area of Constantia. Just fifteen minutes’ drive from the city centre and the towering heights of Table Mountain, you will find yourself transported back in history in the lush vineyards and historic white-washed Constantia wine farms.
The Constantia estate was established in 1685 by Simon van der Stel, first Governor of the Cape. On his death, the Constantia wine farm was subdivided into three parts, Klein Constantia, Groot Constantia and Berglivet; the former are functioning wine farms in Constantia till this day. In 1778, Klein Constantia was acquired by Stellenbosch producer Hendrik Cloete, who started making unfortified dessert wines from Muscat Blanc, Pontac, red and white Muscatel and a little Chenin Blanc, which came to be known as Vin de Constance. This sweet, aromatic nectar was held in great esteem by the royal houses of Europe throughout the 18th and 19th century and was frequently mentioned in contemporary literature.
Find time to browse the range of local stores, tune in to music in vineyards in the summer and admire fine art from local artists. The more adventurous might take a four-wheel drive visit to some of Constantia’s highest mountain vineyards.
Never recovering from the twin plagues of phylloxera and powdery mildew, which ravaged the vineyards of the Cape like elsewhere in the world, the Constantia wine farms and their vines were largely forgotten until the 1980s. Sweet was no longer fashionable and South Africa suffered not only under a wine industry that prioritised quantity over quality, falling out of favour internationally, but also trade sanctions due to its Apartheid system.
Nowadays visitors to this historic wine-growing can sip premium cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling Cap Classique on manicured lawns or enjoy rich dense Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, often combined in one of the region’s top Bordeaux Blends.
Constantia wine farms offer a feast for all the senses. Set on the southern slopes of the Table Mountain Range amidst a unique, world-renowned floral landscape, visitors to this premier ward can relax in surpassed beauty, stay in luxurious boutique hotels or Constantia wine farm accommodation, and indulge in a sensational taste experience at one of its many top-class restaurants. You’ll also want to find time to browse the range of local stores, tune in to music in vineyards in the summer and admire fine art from local artists. The more adventurous might take a four-wheel drive visit to some of Constantia’s highest mountain vineyards.
Constantia wine farms just ooze history. The area is home to some of the best-preserved examples of Cape Dutch architecture, many of which house Constantia’s wineries. Sample some wines at one of the wine farms in Constantia, take a tour of one of the cellars and purchase your favourite directly at the cellar door. If you’d like to learn more about the history of the area, take time to wander the museums of historic Constantia.
Let our local experts at Wine Paths help you discover the unique charms of this most spectacular wine experience. They are on hand to design and organize your perfect Constantia wine farm tour.