One of South Africa’s oldest wines, Grand Constance, which is produced by Groot Constantia and which is a brand from the Napoleonic era, continues to rake in the accolades – proudly representing South African wine standards on the world stage. Most recently this historically significant wine was awarded a Gold Medal and a position in the Top 10 Muscats in the world list at the The 17th annual Muscats du Monde wine competition which took place recently in France.
About the awards
Muscats du Monde 2017 brought together 214 still and sparkling Muscats wines from 25 different countries. More than 55 international expert judges spent two days deliberating before announcing the awards. Groot Constantia was the only South African estate to receive a Gold award this year.
Groot Constantia’s iconic Grand Constance – from the French translation for ‘Groot Constantia’ – is no stranger to being awarded, and over the past three years alone has consistently featured as a winning wine in competitions such as the Monde Selection International Wine Contest (winning gold and Grand Gold awards), the Top 100 SA Wine awards (achieving Best In Its Class and Gold), the Decanter Asia Wine Awards and the Michaelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards.
Grand Constance history shows it has been first choice for centuries
Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest wine farm (332 years old this year). Since early days the wine produced on the estate has caught the attention of influential people across the globe. Before his death in 1821, Napoleon enjoyed ‘Grand Constance’ as his standard tipple while in exile. It is recorded that Louis Phillipe (King of the French) was a regular client. The British Royal family, as well as Frederic the Great of Prussia, have also all appreciated the famous sweet wine of Constantia.
Charles Dickens celebrated it in Edwin Drood, Jane Austen’s character recommended it as a cure for a broken heart in Sense and Sensibility and Charles Baudelaire compared Constantia wine to his lover‘s lips in his most famous volume of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal.
Constantia bottles, bottle shards and bottle seals dating from as far back as 1774 have been found in far corners of the globe in some unusual circumstances: 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.
A historically significant wine for South Africa
‘Grand Constance’ has historic importance, and is a brand that epitomises and represents the Cape’s rich wine heritage, as well as occupying an important position in global wine history,” says Jean Naudé, CEO of Groot Constantia.
The current success of Grand Constance confirms why its predecessor was sought after across the globe two centuries ago.
“We are delighted and proud of this latest amazing achievement by our Grand Constance – a wine that, due to its long history with Groot Constantia, we all hold close to our hearts. This Gold Award and Top 10 listing from the Muscats du Monde wine competition is an excellent recognition to our vineyard and winemaking team for their continuous drive to increase quality across the board. History tends to repeat itself and over centuries this farm has produced high quality wines respected throughout the world,” concludes Naudé.
A journey back in time at Groot Constantia
“For those interested in exploring the historical past of ‘Grand Constance’ and Groot Constantia it is recommended that you visit the estate where you can explore the original Cloete Cellar where Grand Constance was originally produced centuries ago. The cellar now houses a tasting room and museum where, amongst other things visitors can view an extremely rare 195 year old Grand Constance bottle which returned last year to its place of origin where it was produced by Groot Constantia owners and workers nearly two centuries ago.