If we’ve said it once, we’ll say it again – wine farms go hand-in-hand with Cape Town and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t visit one of South Africa’s most beautiful wine estates. Groot Constantia has everything you want and more from a wine farm. Vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see, award-winning wines and a history so rich and delightful.
If we sound a little awe-struck, then you are right – this wine farm is right in the heart of Constantia and it’s the perfect place to spend a day indulging in all things awe-worthy.
A little history about Groot Constantia Wine Estate
Over 300 years ago Commander Simon Van der Stel of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) arrived at the Cape Supply station in 1679. Simon Van der Stel gained extensive knowledge in the Netherlands about viticulture at his vineyards in Muiderbergh while learning a great deal about wine and brandy making. He was going to fit in perfectly!
Commissioner Rijckoff van Goens was a former Governor of Ceylon and a Council Member of India. He visited the Cape while recovering from an illness and suggested that the Chamber of Seventeen, which was the governing body of the VOC, give Van der Stel land. High Commissioner Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein visited and ended up giving Van der Stel 891 morgen – which amounts to about 763 hectares of land on the 13th of July 1685.
The land stretched southward towards the neighbouring free burgher farms – Steenberg and Zwaanswyk and to the north, it reached as far as the wooded area that was named The Hell.
You may be wondering where the name Groot Constantia came from and there are two possible origins. One is that Van der Stel named the farm after Goens’ daughter, Constantia, to pay tribute to the man that helped him get his land. Another theory is that he named it after the ship “Constantia” that anchored at Table Bay along with the ship “Alphen”.
What is there to do at Groot Constantia?
When visiting Groot Constantia, you are spoilt for choice – think wine tasting, chocolate and wine pairing, panoramic views of vineyards and restaurants to satisfy your rumbling stomachs. The only question you should ask yourself is where to start.
#FUNFACT: King Louis Philippe of France sent an order aboard the French ship “La Soane” to purchase wine from Groot Constantia. The first order was in 1833, but King Louis Phillipe liked the wine so much that more orders followed in 1834 and 1836.
This wine farm has been producing some of South Africa’s best wines for over 300 years and they are showing no signs of slowing down and we know there are a number of people out there that are raising wine glasses in appreciation.
- Daily wine tastings of 5 wines at R75 per person
- Include a wine cellar tour and a tasting of 5 wines for R100 per person
- Try Groot Constantia’s Chocolate and Wine Pairing of 5 delectable chocolates that are paired perfectly with 5 award-winning wines for R120 per person
- Please make sure that you book for any of these tastings
- Groot Constantia’s wine tastings start at 10 am and end at 4 pm and they run every hour on the hour
Restaurants at Groot Constantia
Like everything else with Groot Constantia, there is no shortage of magic and awesomeness and the same applies to the restaurants that reside within this little piece of paradise.
Jonkershuis Restaurant is in the historic core of Groot Constantia while being surrounded by beautiful, ancient oak trees. Jonkershuis proudly reflects their Cape Malay heritage of Groot Constantia in the dishes they serve their customers. This family-owned bistro has a few locations for diners to enjoy – private dining grandeur, interior fireside dining or a sunny courtyard perfect for family gatherings and lawn lunches.
Simon’s Restaurant is all about celebrating the Cape Winelands and using the freshest ingredients to take your taste buds on a culinary tour of some seriously memorable meals. Dine al fresco on the sunny terrace with oaks shading your eyes from the Cape Town skies or move inside when it gets a little chilly where big fires are lit to keep diners warm.
Iziko Museum, Homestead and Orientation Centre
Groot Constantia is a benchmark and the heritage of the Cape is measured in terms of its history, architecture, hospitality and physical appearance. The Homestead and the Orientation Centre hold some of these treasures for you to see.
Simon Van der Stel chose to build his home in the beautiful surroundings over 300 years ago and we can see why. In the 1790’s it was rebuilt and this is the current state you will see it in. The Homestead also hosts a collection of old Cape furniture. The Orientation Centre houses artefacts and photos exhibiting the history of the estate and when visiting you should not pass the opportunity to take a glance.
Visiting Groot Constantia is an absolute must if you are in Cape Town. It is so easy to get lost here for the day as it’s an all-in-one experience. Take a walk through old cellars and lush green vineyards and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Groot Constantia and Jonkershuis and Simon’s restaurant are included in your City Pass.