The beginning of February saw Groot Constantia celebrating the 330th year of wine production on the farm in what was a fun and festive event that involved the estates wine maker, staff and harvesters. The wine produced from this momentous harvest will be bottled as a special commemorative vintage to honour and celebrate over three centuries of legendary wine production.
Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest wine producing farm with an uninterrupted record of wine production since its inception in 1685, boasting a proud heritage of 330 years this year.
“This is an achievement that cannot be claimed by any other wine farm in South Africa – nor in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Jean Naudé, General Manager of Groot Constantia. “The Groot Constantia trademark is also one of the oldest surviving trademarks in the world today.”
In fact, Groot Constantia bottles, bottle shards and bottle seals dating from as far back as 1774 have been found in far corners of the world in some unusual circumstances, with one bottle was found at the bottom of the ocean in the archipelago outside Stockholm in the late 1940’s by a diver; three bottles were discovered in the cellar of a castle near Belgium that date to the period 1760 – 1840; a bottle piece featuring the Constantia bottle seal was discovered on a beach in the Delaware Bay and identified by historians to be part of the cargo of the Severn – a ship that was stranded there in 1774; another find was a very crude example of the Constantia wine seal – evidently far older than all the other examples – which was unearthed in an excavation in Meiningen in Germany.
Naudé explains that over the years the wine produced on the estate has caught the attention of influential people across the globe. “Aristocracy made sure that they had enough stock of this acclaimed and precious product. It is recorded that Louis Phillipe (King of the French) was a regular client of Groot Constantia with several repeat orders. A glass of Groot Constantia wine was one of Napoleon’s last wishes before he died in exile on St Helena. The British Royal family as well as Frederic the Great of Prussia, have also all appreciated the Groot Constantia wine.”
330 years of production later and the Groot Constantia wines continue to move from strength to strength – having collectively won 82 gold medals since 2003.
According to Boela Gerber, winemaker for Groot Constantia, central to the success of the estate is its terroir, enabling it to consistently produce wines of impressive quality over the years. “People and their influences come and go but the terroir has remained the same and has allowed Groot Constantia to produce wine of exceptional quality over centuries, even though major changes in wine styles have been introduced over time. “Groot Constantia’s terroir consists of nine different soil types on slopes facing in various directions and at different altitudes (from 75m to 250m above sea level). This is coupled with cool maritime air blown in by the predominant South Easter breezes during the growing season.”
Regardless of development pressures on land in the heart of a prosperous city, Groot Constantia has stood the test of time and is a conservation miracle – a fitting member of the Cape Town Big 6 tourist destinations in South Africa.
Dr Ernest Messina, Chairman of the Groot Constantia Trust, reiterated what a momentous achievement 330 years of wine production is.
“This is a very special moment in Groot Constantia’s history. Thank you to everyone who has worked towards the estates success – some staff have been with us for over 30 years! We look forward to a long and successful future for South Africa’s oldest wine estate – what we do today will determine how people will celebrate Groot Constantia in the future.”
Visitors to the estate can expect rich history, a beautiful setting, friendly people, memories to be made, fun to be had and, of course, wine to be savoured and enjoyed. The estate boasts two top-notch restaurants, Jonkershuis and Simon’s where visitors can eat after they have finished exploring the beautiful old manor house Iziko Museum and its surroundings. Visitors can also enjoy a cellar tour and wine tasting and for those looking for something a little more sedate you can spend time relaxing in the shade of the old oak trees.
Come and enjoy the 330 year old Groot Constantia experience and tell your friends and twitter followers about it – #330GrootConstantia @GrootConstantia – and for more information visit www.grootconstantia.co.za.
Issued by FusionDesign Integrated Brand Agency on behalf of Groot Constantia
Contact: 0861 321 777