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The Story of Grand Constance

Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest wine producing estate and we pride ourselves in the fact that we are producing what we believe to be the finest example of the world famous “Constantia Wyn”, now known as GRAND CONSTANCE.

The farm “Constantia”, a vast property established in 1685 by the first
governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, was chosen for its favourable soils and mountain slopes gently cooled by the ocean breezes of False Bay.

During the Eighteenth century the sweet wines of Constantia received international acclaim for their superior quality and became known throughout the world as “Constantia Wyn (wine)”. “Constantia wyn” began to fetch extremely high prices at well-attended auctions in many European cities and soon came to rival the sweet wines of Europe. “From these Elysian fields used to come one of the
very greatest wines in the world — the legendary Constantia," wrote Hugh
Johnson, “Constantia was bought by European courts in the Eighteenth and
Nineteenth centuries in preference to Yquem, Tokay & Madeira. ”
Emperors and kings, from Frederick the Great of Prussia to King Louis Phillipe of France all vied for their share. Charles Dickens celebrated it in Edwin Drood, Jane Austen's character recommended it as a cure for a broken heart to heroine Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility and
Charles Baudelaire compared Constantia wine to his lover‘s lips in his most
famous volume of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal. Before his death in 1821, Napoleon had 30 bottles a month shipped over to St Helena to ease his exile.

These wines were all produced and bottled in the famous Cloete Cellar. Simon van der Stel’s magnificent Homestead and the impressive Cloete Cellar still stand today and form part of the farm Groot Constantia, a national monument and still a fully functional wine estate.


Did you know?

Notable buyers of Groot Constantia wines included the Marquis of Hastings, the Governor of Ceylon and the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott (a close friend of Lady Anne Barnard).

 

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