South Africa’s oldest wine producing farm, Groot Constantia in Cape Town, is celebrating its 333rd year of uninterrupted wine production! In a toast to this achievement, here are 33 reasons why you should visit this historic wine farm.

South Africa’s oldest wine producing farm, Groot Constantia in Cape Town, is celebrating its 333rd year of uninterrupted wine production – an achievement that cannot be claimed by any other wine farm in South Africa!   In a toast to this achievement, here are 33 reasons why you should visit this historic wine farm. 

(Photos from Groot Constantia, unless watermarked)

1. The original owner, Simon van der Stel named the farm Groot Constantia after the Latin word for constancy or steadfastness, as these were attributes he valued greatly. Attributes we should all value greatly!   

2. You are walking through, eating in and quaffing wine at a National Monument, that has been so since way back in 1936.  

3. Emperors and kings, such as Frederick the Great of Prussia and King Louis Phillipe of France bought ‘Constantia Wyn’ at auctions across Europe. If it’s good enough for a king…

4. Grand Constance apparently soothed Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile on the island of Saint Helena. They say he even requested Grand Constance on his deathbed. (I don’t blame him, it’s delicious!)

5. You can view a rare bottle of Grand Constance that was produced in 1821 in the Cloete Cellar.

 6. Take in some art in the Tasting and Sales Hall and discover some of the most meaningful and beautiful art produced by local artists in South Africa. Art@Constantia is a permanent exhibition curated by Lyn Atterbury and James Hodgson and during the year different exhibitions take place with grand openings. Sign up to their mailing list to be in the know.  

7. Find the secret bath, said to have been Josephine’s bath (wife of Simon van der Stel). You can just imagine her enjoying some peace and quiet (hopefully with glass of wine in hand) and taking in the magnificent view while the trees provided welcome shade. If you do the audio tour, you will be led right to it.

8. Enjoy wine tasting (5 wines of your choice) and take home a Spiegelau crystal glass as a memento.*

9. Look out for the carriage collection on the farm, exhibited in the coach house that forms part of the Jonkershuis complex. Amongst them are Sefton Landau, Cape Cart, Ralli Cart, Buggy and a Farm Cart, as well as light trolleys or ‘molwaens‘, a wagon drawn by six horses and a pioneer wagon known as a ‘kakebeenwa‘.

10. Take a guided cellar tour (10h00-16h00 daily, on the hour) and learn more about wine production on the estate.

11. Pop into the oldest cellar in the Cape, The Cloete Cellar,  built in 1791. This building can be recognised by the beautiful sculpted Anton Anreith pediment. The Wine Museum is situated in a part of the historic wine cellar where storage and drinking vessels for wine, dating from antiquity to the early 20th century are presently exhibited. It’s also the birthplace of Grand Constance! * 

12. Charles Baudelaire compared Constantia wine to his lover‘s lips in his most famous volume of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal.   

13. South Africa’s oldest wine also became so renowned it appears in Jane Austen’s novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’ as a cure for a broken heart and is drunk to lift a character’s spirit in ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ by Charles Dickens!  

14. Do a chocolate and wine pairing, with five wines and five handcrafted chocolates. R125 per person.  

15. Explore the original Cape Dutch Manor House (the home of Simon van der Stel) and see furniture, paintings, textiles, ceramics, brass, and copperware from the 18th century.*  

16. You can follow in the footsteps of celebrated travel writers and adventurers with three self-guided audio tours, available as part of the Visitors Route Experience.The tours allow you to experience each of the estate’s key attractions by following a specially designed circular route through the historical core of the farm before venturing out into the vineyards. No more need join a tour or book a tour guide.  

17. The audio-guided tours, through VoiceMap, are free! Anyone with a smart phone can download them and you do not have to hold a Visitors Experience ticket to access these audio tours. Just rock up, download the tour, plug in your earphones and take a walk.  

18. There is free Wi-Fi on the estate. So whether you want to Instagram your lunch, download a tour, or WhatsApp a selfie to your mates, you can do so free of charge.

19. Have breakfast, lunch or dinner under the oaks or inside beside a roaring fire at Jonkershuis.  The restaurant is conscious of the origin, sustainability and the ethical content of all the food they prepare and you’ll also find many Cape-Malay inspired dishes on the menu. 

20. Anna de Koningh, the first woman to own Groot Constantia, came from a slave background. (her mother was brought to the Cape as a slave and sold to Jan van Riebeeck, forming part of the first 14 slaves in the Cape up to March 1658). I do love a bit of girl-power!

21. Have a picnic on the lawns at Simon’s Restaurant. The basket contains a selection of pates and dips, a baguette, cured and home-cooked cold cuts, a classic Coronation Chicken Salad, a potato salad with a mustard mayo, a green salad pack, selected local cheeses, biscuits, preserves and dessert. It’s a massive feast for only R380 (for two). They even throw in a picnic blanket and cushions into the deal!  Vegetarians and children are also catered for.   

22. If it’s raining, or picnics aren’t your style, Simon’s Restaurant also has a menu featuring classic dishes alongside some of their own creations. Think fish and chips, burgers, peri-peri chicken, braised pork belly, cajun-grilled Pategonian calamari, steaks, salads, pasta dishes and delicious desserts.  They also do cheeseboards and charcuterie boards. 

23. Groot Constantia is included in The Cape Camino as part of the 18km Wine to Water Route, which is the most walked route of them all (of course it is, there’s wine!) If you have a Cape Camino Passport, Simon’s Restaurant will give you a free coffee with your main meal. 

24. Their wines have been featured on a stamp! The South African Post Office paid tribute to the South African wine industry through a set of five small international letter rate stamps and a commemorative envelope issued in 6 October 2017 and the Duke of Northumberland 1791 and Grand Constance 1821 wines feature on one of the stamps. Stamp collectors can order the stamps (R45.75 set of five) and commemorative envelope (R48.75) by emailing

25. The estate is also part of the City Sightseeing Tours (Constantia Valley Wine Bus) so you could make a day (or two) of it with some sightseeing in the city added on. Remember, it’s good to be a tourist in your own city too!

26. Groot Constantia is very child-friendly and they will love playing on the lawns under the oak trees outside Jonkershuiis or Simon’s Deli.  

27. The oaks trees planted by Simon van der Stel 333 years ago are still standing, but did you know that one of them is completely hollow? It forms a secret cave and kids will love it!  

28. The estate is a photographer’s dream, with its vineyards, old buildings and beautiful grounds. So take your camera and get snapping!

29. They have lots of really cute ducks! Cute ducks that are very clever – they are masters at getting up the stairs from the ponds to the tasting room!

30. Regardless of development pressures on land in the heart of a busy city, Groot Constantia constantly works to promote awareness and drive participation in conservation-focused farming practices.  

31. In light of the above and to mark over three centuries as custodians of South Africa’s wine production history, the estate has been officially declared a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Conservation Champion. Something to be very proud of!

32. Even if you are broke, you can visit Groot Constantia as there is no entrance fee. Take a walk through the vineyards, visit Josephine’s Bath, or do an audio tour.    

33. Don’t take my word for it on their wine. Groot Constantia has collectively won over 100 gold awards in the past decade alone.  So I’ll say it again… wine! If nothing else, do go for a glass of wine. I promise you’ll discover so much more while you are there.

To find out more about Groot Constantia, visit their website at

*These attractions form part of the Visitors Route Experience, with tickets costing R95 per person for the tasting, guided cellar tour and museums. If you wish to add a chocolate and wine tasting to your experience, it’s R145 per person.

Published March 2018 | Hosted by Groot Constantia