Constantia Wine Route – A Stone’s Throw from Cape Town’s Centre
Wine cultivation in the metropolis Cape Town? What seems impossible at first becomes reality in this city because gourmets merely need about 25 minutes from the city centre to the Constantia Wine Route. The Constantia wine cultivation area is located within the official city borders of Cape Town on the eastern slopes of the Table Mountain and is known for its noble wines far beyond the borders of South Africa. Due to the high quality and the popularity of the local products, the Constantia Wine Route was introduced which connects the wineries of this region. The Wine Route connects the estates Buitenverwachting, Constantia Glen, Constantia Uitsig, Eagles‘ Nest, Groot Constantia, High Constantia, Klein Constantia and Steenberg. The Wine Route entices with avenues with contorted oak trees which lead to grand manor houses in the Cape Dutch style, paired with delights regarding both wine and food.
Oldest Wine Region in South Africa
The Constantia Wine Route is part of the first wine cultivation regions in South Africa; the foundation for the worldwide success of the creations from the Cape was laid here. Most of the wineries can therefore look back on a long history reaching all the way back to the late 17th century. Simon van der Stel founded the original wine farm Constantia in 1685. After his death in 1712, the farm was separated into three independent estates because none of the heirs wanted to take over the wine farm as a whole. The results were the wineries Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia. The wines produced here are of such high quality that Napoleon had, amongst others, the Constantia Muscadel – nowadays known as Vin de Constance – delivered to Elba while he was exiled. Per year, Klein Constantia delivered 365 bottles, which makes one every day! Other aristocrats and royal houses followed his example and had wines from South Africa delivered. Napoleon named the wine from the area a ‘cure for disappointed hearts’.
The Highlights of the Constantia Wine Route: Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia, and Steenberg
The winery Buitenverwachting covers approximately 100 ha of land; the name Buitenverwachting means ‘beyond expectations’. The winery truly lives up to its name: the restaurant is considered to be an absolute culinary highlight and the top class wines are popular amongst critics and gourmets alike.
Klein Constantia is famous for its old Cape Dutch style manor house in which public wine tastings take place. The dessert wine ‘Vin de Constance’ has brought the winery in particular and the wine country South Africa in general worldwide fame in the 17th and 18th century. At that time, this wine was the most expensive of its kind and everyone who was proud of their social status had to have it in the wine cellar. Back then, South African wine was a fixed element on the world market and very popular amongst the rich and powerful.
Besides first-class wines, Steenberg, one of the oldest farms at the Cape, offers a Country Hotel and a 18 holes golf course. A modern design ensures a stylish flair on the whole estate; in the bistro 1682, the kitchen serves wonderful tapas and bistro-style dishes with an exquisite touch. The restaurant Catharina’s pays homage to the founder Catharina, a very determined woman who survived as many as five husbands and ensured the foundation of the ongoing success of Steenberg.
Perfect Conditions for Wine Cultivation
The Constantia Wine Route is located in the west at the Hout Bay and is bounded on the east by the False Bay. Due to these two bays, there is a cool maritime climate in Constantia and the Constantia Mountain provides sufficient shade even on hot days. Regarding precipitation, it is plentiful with 800 – 1000mm annually and the winemakers can forego artificial irrigation. The soil is mainly red and contains granite which gives the cool and deep soil good water storage properties. Perfect conditions for wine cultivation which is why for many visitors, the Constantia Wine Route is the highlight of their trip.
To the wines from the Constantia Wine Route or back to overview.