06 March 2017
Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest wine estate and stop 25 on our Constantia Wine Bus, is a must-do for all foodies, wine connoisseurs and lovers of culture and history. If the delicious picnics, snacks – and award-winning wines enjoyed by emperors and heads of state – don’t bowl you over, the grand tour of the property certainly will.
Sunshine and vineyards at Groot Constantia. (Image: Bertrand Duperrin)
What to do at Groot Constantia:
1. Indulge in a slice of history
The main building at Groot Constantia. (Image: Groot Constantia)
Groot Constantia has two buildings that form part of the Iziko Museums of South Africa: the orientation centre focusing on the estate’s history with exhibitions and photographs, and the grand manor house built for the Cape’s first governor, Simon van der Stel, more than 330 years ago. Groot Constantia’s wines are a major part of its rich history. Book a cellar tour not only to learn about the wines, but also to grab a bottle – or case – to take home.
Cost: Entrance to the manor house costs R30 per adult and R15 for students and pensioners. Cellar tours cost from R50 for the tour to R160, including the tour, wine tasting and chocolate pairing. Kids under 18 can enjoy the tour and a juice tasting for R25. Booking for the cellar tour is essential. Book here.
2. Bask in the summer sun with a picnic fit for a king
Simon’s Deli is an iconic stop for foodies. Enjoy a gourmet picnic basket with a selection of breads, cold meats, cheeses, preserves, tapas, salads and dessert. You will be designated a waiter and a rustic table under the ancient oak trees as you enjoy the beautiful views. Make it a perfect affair and request a bottle of Groot Constantia wine paired to your meal and surroundings. Stroll through the vineyards after lunch to complete your experience!
Cost: R380 per picnic for two people. Booking is essential at least one day in advance. Book here.
3. Taste an iconic wine
Groot Constantia has been producing wine for more than 300 years and the Grand Constance is in fact South Africa’s oldest and possibly most prestigious wine. It has been drunk by kings and historical figures alike, from King Louis-Philippe l of France to Napoleon Bonaparte, who shipped 30 bottles a month to his hideaway in St Helena while in exile. Writers such as Charles Dickens celebrated it in Edwin Drood, Jane Austen recommended it as a cure for a broken heart in Sense and Sensibility and Charles Baudelaire compared Constantia wine to his lover’s lips in Les Fleurs du Mal. Judge for yourself with a tasting of five award-winning wines.
Cost: R75 per person for a selection of five wines, R100 for a wine tasting and cellar tour, or R120 for the VIP experience of a cellar tour, wine tasting and chocolate pairing. Booking for the cellar tour is essential, book here.
How to experience the full glory of Groot Constantia:
Hop on the City Sightseeing Purple Wine Tour for the best wine experience the Cape has to offer (Image: City Sightseeing)
Hop on the City Sightseeing Constantia Wine Bus, the best way to enjoy a day filled with food, wine and culture, without worrying about how to get home. To catch the Purple Wine Tour bus, hop off at Constantia Nek (stop 21) from any of the red bus tours. On this tour you will also hop off at two other award-winning estates, Eagle’s Nest (stop 26) and Beau Constantia (stop 27).
Tickets cost R190 per person (R170 if you buy online) and R90 for kids under 17. Buy your tickets here.