OUR LEGACY

GRAND CONSTANCE

Imagine Wine as royalty.
We pride ourselves in the fact that we are producing the finest example of the world famous
“Constantia Wyn”, now known as “GRAND CONSTANCE”.

OUR LEGACY

GRAND CONSTANCE

Imagine Wine as royalty.
We pride ourselves in the fact that we are producing the finest example of the world famous “Constantia Wyn”, now known as “GRAND CONSTANCE”.

The story of the “Constantia Wyn” of Napoleon

Napoleon’s favourite wine originated from “Grand Constance”, the French translation for Groot Constantia. These wines were produced in the Cloete Cellar that can be visited today, directly behind the Groot Constantia Manor house. It is known that Groot Constantia used the French translation “Grand Constance” on its labels additional to the normal “Groot Constantia” reference. “Grand Constance” was supplied to Napoleon until his death in 1821 during his exile on the island of Saint Helena.

The agent of the English East India Company based in Cape Town at the time, Joseph Luson (1783-1822), was tasked by the British authorities to provision not only the French contingent at Longwood House, but also the civilian population, the garrison and the regiments stationed on the Island as well as the ships of the Royal Navy patrolling the waters around Saint Helena.

Joseph Luson bought the wine directly from the Cloete family who owned Groot Constantia. His business relations with the family changed significantly on 24 May 1817 when he married Catharina Maria (Mary) Cloete, the daughter of Pieter Lourens Cloete, the wine merchant of Groot Constantia, and his wife, Maria Catharina van Reenen. Luson also appointed his brother-in-law, Daniel Jacob Cloete (1800-1879), as his confidential clerk in 1819. The names of ‘Den Heer J Luson’ and ‘D J Cloete’ are amongst the regular clients recorded in the Groot Constantia’s Wine Sales Register, meticulously kept from 1800-1860.

These wines were all produced and bottled in the famous Cloete Cellar. Simon van der Stel’s magnificent Homestead and the impressive Cloete Cellar still stand today and form part of the farm Groot Constantia, a Provincial Heritage site and still a fully functional wine estate.

The story of the
“Constantia Wyn”
of Napoleon

Napoleon’s favourite wine originated from “Grand Constance”, the French translation for Groot Constantia. These wines were produced in the Cloete Cellar that can be visited today, directly behind the Groot Constantia Manor house. It is known that Groot Constantia used the French translation “Grand Constance” on its labels additional to the normal “Groot Constantia” reference. “Grand Constance” was supplied to Napoleon until his death in 1821 during his exile on the island of Saint Helena.

The agent of the English East India Company based in Cape Town at the time, Joseph Luson (1783-1822), was tasked by the British authorities to provision not only the French contingent at Longwood House, but also the civilian population, the garrison and the regiments stationed on the Island as well as the ships of the Royal Navy patrolling the waters around Saint Helena.

Joseph Luson bought the wine directly from the Cloete family who owned Groot Constantia. His business relations with the family changed significantly on 24 May 1817 when he married Catharina Maria (Mary) Cloete, the daughter of Pieter Lourens Cloete, the wine merchant of Groot Constantia, and his wife, Maria Catharina van Reenen. Luson also appointed his brother-in-law, Daniel Jacob Cloete (1800-1879), as his confidential clerk in 1819. The names of ‘Den Heer J Luson’ and ‘D J Cloete’ are amongst the regular clients recorded in the Groot Constantia’s Wine Sales Register, meticulously kept from 1800-1860.

These wines were all produced and bottled in the famous Cloete Cellar. Simon van der Stel’s magnificent Homestead and the impressive Cloete Cellar still stand today and form part of the farm Groot Constantia, a Provincial Heritage site and still a fully functional wine estate.

The Grand Constance brand is an important part of World Wine Heritage and South Africa’s oldest wine.
Napoleon was allowed to drink wine and requested wines made at Groot Constantia whilst exiled on the island of Saint Helena from 1815 until his death in May 1821, and rumour has it that is was his favourite wine.

During the Eighteenth century the sweet wines of Constantia received international acclaim for their superior quality and became known throughout the world as “Constantia Wyn (wine)”. “Constantia wyn” began to fetch extremely high prices at well-attended auctions in many European cities and soon came to rival the sweet wines of Europe. “From these Elysian fields used to come one of the very greatest wines in the world — the legendary Constantia,” wrote Hugh Johnson, “Constantia was bought by European courts in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries in preference to Yquem, Tokay & Madeira. ”

Groot Constantia’s rich history shows how one man’s love of wine established South Africa’s first wine farm more than 330 years ago and how those 891 morgen of land formed the origins of the commercial South African wine industry, with Emperors and Kings such as Frederick the Great of Prussia and Louis Phillipe (King of the French) buying ‘Constantia Wyn’ at auctions across Europe. South Africa’s oldest wine 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. Perhaps it even soothed Napoleon as it was served during his exile on the island of Saint Helena.

The Grand Constance brand is an important part of World Wine Heritage and South Africa’s oldest wine.

Napoleon was allowed to drink wine and requested wines made at Groot Constantia whilst exiled on the island of Saint Helena from 1815 until his death in May 1821, and rumour has it that is was his favourite wine.

During the Eighteenth century the sweet wines of Constantia received international acclaim for their superior quality and became known throughout the world as “Constantia Wyn (wine)”. “Constantia wyn” began to fetch extremely high prices at well-attended auctions in many European cities and soon came to rival the sweet wines of Europe. “From these Elysian fields used to come one of the very greatest wines in the world — the legendary Constantia,” wrote Hugh Johnson, “Constantia was bought by European courts in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries in preference to Yquem, Tokay & Madeira. ”

Groot Constantia’s rich history shows how one man’s love of wine established South Africa’s first wine farm more than 330 years ago and how those 891 morgen of land formed the origins of the commercial South African wine industry, with Emperors and Kings such as Frederick the Great of Prussia and Louis Phillipe (King of the French) buying ‘Constantia Wyn’ at auctions across Europe. South Africa’s oldest wine 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. Perhaps it even soothed Napoleon as it was served during his exile on the island of Saint Helena.

A lost treasure in Delaware Bay

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In 2004, Groot Constantia received another significant endorsement 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, which was found among other porcelain items, had the inscription “Constantia Wyn” on it. American historians traced this artifact to a British supply ship named the Severn that sank in the Delaware Bay in 1774 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.

~ Modern Fact ~

Jean Naudé, CEO 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 them‘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 on the glass artifact found on the
beach at Lewes. The Grand Constance is a
continuation of the wine made during the 1700
and 1800’s that made Groot Constantia world
famous.

The accolades received by the Grand Constance
wine affirm that the Groot Constantia Wine
Estate is living up to the vision of our founder,
Simon van der Stel, and upholding his legacy.

~ Modern Fact ~

Jean Naudé, CEO 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 them‘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 on the glass artifact found on the
beach at Lewes. The Grand Constance is a
continuation of the wine made during the 1700
and 1800’s that made Groot Constantia world
famous.

The accolades received by the Grand Constance
wine affirm that the Groot Constantia Wine
Estate is living up to the vision of our founder,
Simon van der Stel, and upholding his legacy.

The Award-winning Groot Constantia Grand Constance Wine

Both the 2012 and 2013 Grand Constance have walked away with a top award from the “Monde Selection International Wine Contest” in Brussels. This Monde judging panel, which is made up of over 70 totally independent judges consisting of Michelin starred chefs and master sommeliers, amongst other experts, judged wines from 26 different countries. The Gold Award that was presented by the Monde judges to Groot Constantia’s Grand Constance is issued to those products that obtain an average result of between 80% and 89% – meaning an indisputable guarantee of quality to the consumer.

Adding to this success, the 2013 Grand Constance was also selected as one of the Top 100 SA Wines in 2016, and also named as best in its class. The 2013 Grand Constance continued to rake in the awards with the highest possible accolade at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards. Surpassing Gold, Grand Constance received Platinum for being the Best South African Sweet Wine – achieving a rare 98 points out of a possible 100, and being classed as “exceptional”. The Grand Constance 2014 was awarded a Gold Medal and a position in the Top 10 Muscats in the World list at the 17th annual Muscats du Monde wine competition.

The Award-winning Groot Constantia Grand Constance Wine

Both the 2012 and 2013 Grand Constance have walked away with a top award from the “Monde Selection International Wine Contest” in Brussels. This Monde judging panel, which is made up of over 70 totally independent judges consisting of Michelin starred chefs and master sommeliers, amongst other experts, judged wines from 26 different countries. The Gold Award that was presented by the Monde judges to Groot Constantia’s Grand Constance is issued to those products that obtain an average result of between 80% and 89% – meaning an indisputable guarantee of quality to the consumer.

Adding to this success, the 2013 Grand Constance was also selected as one of the Top 100 SA Wines in 2016, and also named as best in its class. The 2013 Grand Constance continued to rake in the awards with the highest possible accolade at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards. Surpassing Gold, Grand Constance received Platinum for being the Best South African Sweet Wine – achieving a rare 98 points out of a possible 100, and being classed as “exceptional”. The Grand Constance 2014 was awarded a Gold Medal and a position in the Top 10 Muscats in the World list at the 17th annual Muscats du Monde wine competition.

OUR AWARDS

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Our Awards are testimony of centuries of superior quality.