Did you know?
Constantia was probably named after Constantia van Goens, granddaughter of the Dutch East India official who granted Simon van der Stel the farm Constantia.
The Constantia Wine Route in Cape Town is well worth a visit for its historical wine-making traditions, scenic setting, superb restaurants, fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture and, of course, its fine wine.
This is the Cape’s oldest wine producing region, dating back to 1685, and also the only wine district located within a city. Because of its close proximity to Cape Town, it is one of the Cape’s most visited wine routes.
A coastal Wine of Origin region, heat sensitive white cultivars grow well in Constantia, where high annual rainfall, and mild winters with very little or no frost, ensure maximum time on the vine, and cool sea breezes from False Bay temper the fierce heat of summer to safeguard flavour complexity.
Constantia Valley may be the smallest of the Cape’s wine routes, with 11 vineyards, eight of which are open to the public, but wine producers such as Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Constantia Uitsig, and Steenberg are world renowned.
A new generation of winemakers represented by Constantia Glen, Eagles Nest and High Constantia estates are turning out smaller quantities of exceptional wines.
A number of Constantia wine estate histories go back more than 300 years.
At Klein Constantia, visitors can taste the old world charm when they purchase Vin de Constance, a dessert wine that gained the region international fame during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Made from Muscat de Frontignan grapes, Muscat Capp Constantia, as it was previous called, was enjoyed by Napoleon, Jane Austin, and Charles Dickens, amongst others, for its restorative powers. But after phylloxera devastated Cape vineyards in the late 19th century, the wine ceased to be produced.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Constantia Valley Association
Tel: +27 (0)21 709 0413
Cell: +27 (0)72 410 9959
How to get here
The Constantia Valley is conveniently located in the centre of Cape Town’s Peninsula, only 20 minutes' drive from Cape Town.
Best time to visit
The Constantia Valley is especially scenic in spring and summer. Visit between January and April to participate in harvest activities. The vineyards also display spectacular colours in autumn.
Around the area
Play golf at Steenberg or visit its day spa. Cape Town’s major attractions, the V&A Waterfront and Robben Island, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and Table Mountain are between 20 to 30 minutes away. Visit the one of the Cape’s newest Wine of Origin districts, Cape Point.
Tours to do
At Groot Constantia visit the Iziko Orientation Centre, the Manor House, and the original Cloete Cellar, dating back to 1791.
Numerous Cape Town based tour operators conduct tours of the Constantia Wine Route. For wine adventurers and gourmands, self-drive is definitely the way to go, and there are numerous car hire companies in Cape Town.
What will it cost
The price of a wine tasting varies from estate to estate. Some cellars will waive the tasting fees if wine is purchased.
Length of stay
It's a good day out.
Where to stay
Constantia has notable five-star hotels: The Cellars-Hohenort, Steenberg Hotel, Constantia Uitsig Hotel and Spa, and Colona Castle among them; as well as B&Bs, guesthouses, self-catering villas for hire.
What to eat
The Cellars-Hohenort’s hotel has two restaurants, one specialising in traditional Cape Malay cuisine. Buitenverwachting, Constantia Uitsig, and Steenberg also have superb fine dining resturants. Advance booking at these venues is essential.
The Constantia Wine Valley hosts a Constantia Fresh Sauvignon Blanc Festival in February and the Spring it On wine festival in mid-October.
Vin de Constance – Klein Constantia’s recreation of the legendary Constantia wine from shriveled as opposed to botrytised grapes.