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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.