A Lost Treasure in Delaware Bay

Groot Constantia’s place in history received another significant endorsement in 2004 when an American citizen picked up a piece of glass on the beach at Lewes, Delaware, on the east coast of America. The piece of glass had an inscription “Constantia Wyn” on it and American historians traced this artefact which was found among other porcelain items, to a ship that stranded in the Delaware Bay in 1774. The ship was a British supply ship named the Severn, which sank in the Delaware Bay after being hit by a storm. The wreckage was only discovered in 2004.

Unfortunately the bottle of Groot Constantia wine was broken during the storm and except for the engraved inscription, the bottle offered no other clue as to what had been inside. It was probably one of the sweet wines that Constantia was known for at that time.

Jean Naudé, General Manager of the Estate, was invited to a formal ceremony in Lewes where a certificate, signed by the Secretary of State of Delaware, Harriet Smith Windsor was handed to him. An extract from the certificate reads: “Because of the broken wine bottle recovered from the “Severn” for marketing to the colonies, the State of Delaware and the Groot Constantia Estate and Winery will always share an association. It continues today, uniquely providing a link to our past, our maritime heritage and our ties to the sea”.

To commemorate this discovery, the Grand Constance wine bottle carries a replica of the inscription of the glass artefact, found on the beach at Lewes. The Grand Constance wine is a modern version of wine made during the 1700 and 1800’s, making Groot Constantia world famous.


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