Groot Constantia Wine Cellars (Constantia)
Overview of the Groot Constantia Wine Cellars
Commander Simon van der Stel of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) arrived at the cape supply station in 1679. Back in the Netherlands, van der Stel had gained a solid background in viticulture at his vineyards in Muiderbergh.
The Groot Constantia Wine Cellars offers visitors guided wine making tours, wine tasting and a restaurant and beautiful scenery.
History of Groot Constantia
In 1685, during a visit ot he Cape, Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein granted the grounds of Groot Constantia to Simon van der Stel, the VOC Governor of the Cape of Good Hope.
Van der Stel built the house and used the lan to produce wine and other fruit and vegetables, and for cattle farming. Following Van der Stel's death in 1712, the estate was broken up and sold in three parts: Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, and Bergvliet.
1779: The portion of the estate including Van der Stel's Cape Dutch-style manor house was sold to the Cloete family, who planted extensive vineyards and exteneded and improved the mansion
1791: The Cloete family added the wine cellar
1885: Groot Constantia was purchased by the government of the Cape of Good Hope, and was used as an experimental wine and agricultural estate
1925: Following a disastrous fire, the mansion was extensively restored
1969: The manor house became part of the South African Cultural History Museum
1993: Ownership passed to the Groot Constantia Trust.
The exhibition of the house is managed by Iziko South African Museum, and is particularly focused on rural slavery and the life of slaves during the early Cape colonial period.
Review of the Groot Constantia Wine Cellars
Groot Constantia has some of the most incredible scenery to take photographs of. The sloping hills and vineyards just makes you want to stay there forever.
The wine tour educates visitors about the wine making process, and the included wine tasting gives you an overview of the excellent wines produced by the wine estate.
Although we didn't eat at the restaurant, it was packed and the food looked good.
Don't forget to buy a bottle of wine as a souvenir before going home!