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Important Dates for Groot Constantia

Since 1685, when Simon van der Stel arrived in Table Bay and land was granted to him, until the last renovation on the farm, 300 years of history has taken place. Take a journey back in time with us as we explore these important dates.

  • 1685  Land is granted to Van der Stel, which he names Constantia.
  • 1699  Van der Stel retires as Governor of the Cape.
  • 1712  Simon van der Stel dies.
  • 1716  Oloff Bergh becomes owner of a part of the original Constantia, popularly referred to
              as Groot Constantia. The two other parts, Bergvliet and Klein Constantia, become
              the property of Pieter de Meijer.
  • 1724  Bergh’s wife, Anna de Koningh, becomes the owner of Groot Constantia.
  • 1734  Carl Georg Wieser buys Groot Constantia from the estate of De Koningh.
  • 1759  Jacobus van der Spuij buys Groot Constantia from the estate of his late stepfather.
  • 1778  Jan Serrurier buys Groot Constantia and in the same year sells the farm to Hendrik
               Cloete.
  • 1789  Outbreak of the French Revolution, which lasts until Napoleon seizes power in 1799.
  • 1792  Henrik Cloete’s restoration of the farm is complete.
  • 1795  The First British Occupation of the Cape.
  • 1795  The German poet Friederich Gottlieb Klopstock composes Der Kapwein under
               Johannesberger, Kapwein being Constantia wine.
  • 1799  Hendrik Cloete (junior) becomes the new owner of Groot Constantia.
  • 1803  The Cape comes under Batavian rule.
  • 1806  The Second British Occupation of the Cape.
  • 1811  Sense and Sensibility, a novel by Jane Austen in which Constantia wine is
               mentioned, is published.
  • 1815  Napoleon is banished to St Helena after his defeat of Waterloo. On St Helena he
              was supplied with wine from Groot Constantia until his death in 1821.
  • 1818  The wife of the late Hendrik Cloete, Anna Catharina Scheller, becomes the second
               woman to own the estate.
  • 1824  Scheller sells the estate to her oldest son, Jacob Pieter Cloete.
  • 1833  King Louis Philippe of France becomes the biggest buyer ever of Groot Constantia
               wine.
  • 1834  Slavery is abolished, but slaves are apprenticed to their owners for a four-year
               period, i.e. Up to 1838.
  • 1855  Silver medals are awarded to Groot Constantia wine at the Paris Exhibition.
  • 1857  Les Fleurs du mal is published, a volume of poems by the French poet Charles
               Baudelaire, in which Sed non satiata praises Constantia wine.
  • 1859  The fungal disease oidiumtuckeri, also known as mildew or powdery mildew, is
              discovered in the Cape vineyards. In December it is also found in the Groot
              Constantia vineyards.
  • 1860  A 10-year free trade agreement is concluded between Britain and France, under
               which French wines benefit greatly, to the disadvantage of Cape wine exports,
               including that of Groot Constantia.
  • 1866  The vine disease phylloxera, caused by an insect called peritymbiavitifolii, ravages
               the vineyards of the Cape, including those of Groot Constantia.
  • 1867  Silver medals are awarded to Groot Constantia wine at the Paris Exhibition.
  • 1872  Jacob Pieter Cloete is declared insolvent in the Cape Supreme Court.
  • 1874  Two medals are awarded to Groot Constantia wine in Vienna.
  • 1875  Jacob Pieter Cloete’s oldest son Henry, and his two sons, become responsible
               for the running of the farm.
  • 1876  Two medals are awarded to Groot Constantia wine in Philadelphia.
  • 1878  A gold medal is awarded to Groot Constantia wine in Paris.
  • 1881  Six awards are won by Groot Constantia wine in Melbourne.
  • 1885  Groot Constantia is bought at an auction for the Cape Government by the Master
              of the Cape Supreme Court.
  • 1925  The homestead and the bulk of its contents are destroyed by a fire.
  • 1926  The homestead is restored under the chairmanship of the architect FK Kendall.
  • 1927  The homestead is opened as a museum, and Alfred Aaron de Pass starts donating
               and buying items for the homestead until his death in 1952.
  • 1936  The homestead, with areas surrounding it and all objects thereon, is proclaimed a
              National Monument by the Minister of the Interior according to Section 8 of the
              Natural and Historical Monuments, Relics and Antiques Act, 1934,
              (Act No. 4 of 1934).
  • 1969  The South African Cultural History Museum becomes responsible for the running of
               the homestead and the wine cellar.
  • 1971  The Wine Museum is established by the South African Cultural History Museum in a
               part of the wine cellar.
  • 1976  The Groot Constantia Control Board is established, which replaces the Department
               of Agricultural Technical Services as viticultural body on the farm.
  • 1984  The Groot Constantia State Estate, including the Groot Constantia and Hoop op
               Constantia homesteads and all the outbuildings thereon, are declared a National
               Monument by the Minister of the Department of National Education according to
               Section 10 (1) of the War Graves and National Monuments Act, 1969 (Act 28 of
               1969).
  • 1993  The Groot Constantia Trust, an association incorporated under section 21 of the
               Companies Act of 1973, is established, which replaces the by now disbanded Groot
               Constantia Control Board. The Groot Constantia Trust becomes the sole owner of
               the farm.
  • 1993  The historic bath, homestead, Jonkershuis complex, and wine cellar are restored
                by architects Revel Fox & Partners. The project is completed in 1994.
  • 1994  Restoration of the pediment gable of the Cloete cellar.
  • 1996  Restoration of the graveyard.
  • 1997/8 Renovation to Hoop on Constantia.

Did you know?

The Wine Museum as established by the South African Cultural History Museum is a part of the wine cellar.

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