When you visit Groot Constantia Wine Estate, you enter to the history of viticulture in South Africa. The vineyards of this wine estate are the oldest in South Africa, from the late 1600’s. Here is a slightly shortened extract of the estate’s history from their web site:
Groot Constantia History
Groot Constantia’s revered history tells us how a man’s love of wine established the first wine farm in South Africa. By going back 300 years, we come to understand how 891 morgen (about 763 hectares) of land created the origins of the South African wine industry.
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. There he learnt the art of wine and brandy making which he was soon to implement here in the Cape.
Commissioner Rijckloff van Goens, a former governor of Ceylon and Council Member of India recommended to the governing body of the VOC, that land should be granted to Simon van der Stel, who received title on the land on 13th July 1685.
It is thought that van der Stel named the farm after Van Goens’ daughter in recognition of his help and support in obtaining the farm land. Another theory is that the farm was named after the VOC ship “Constantia” which, with the “Alphen” was anchored in Table Bay.
A long story short: between 1685 and today there has been a great number of changes in the ownership. Now the estate is owned by a trust. (Read more from the estate’s web site).
After a nice walk in the estate, we were happy to leave it with tasty samples of their production.