In response to significant growth in visitor numbers, Groot Constantia is rolling out a unique new Visitor’s Route experience – which will be available in time for the Summer 2016/17 season. Four years of continuous growth in numbers saw Groot Constantia welcome over 400 000 visitors in 2015 alone – which has led to the need to enhance the Groot Constantia experience so that guests are allowed increased, and more personalised interaction, with the staff and offerings at the estate.
The creation of this new Visitor’s Route experience at Groot Constantia is an exciting development for what is South Africa’s oldest wine producing estate, with an uninterrupted record of wine production since its inception in 1685 – boasting a proud heritage of 331 years this year.
About the Groot Constantia Visitors Route
Grant Newton, marketing manager for Groot Constantia, explains that the original Manor House will become the “front door” to Groot Constantia as it is here that visitors will begin their Visitors Route by purchasing a ticket that provides full access to all of the offerings on the estate. This single ticket will allow admission to the museums, the famous Cloete Cellar and a self-guided cellar tour and tasting experience.
After the Manor House, visitors can explore the original wine production cellar from 1791. “The Cloete Cellar is where the original sweet wines of Constantia were produced,” says Newton. “It is recorded that Louis Phillipe (King of the French) was a regular client of Groot Constantia with several repeat orders, and Napoleon ordered 30 bottles a month during his exile on St Helena Island – calling for a glass as one of his last wishes before he died. The British Royal family, as well as Frederic the Great of Prussia, have also all appreciated the Groot Constantia wine.”
Another exciting development sees the Cloete Cellar now housing an interactive museum. The other half of the cellar will be the tasting room where visitors can taste and purchase Groot Constantia’s wines.
“This new tasting area situated in the historical Cloete Cellar is a significant experience enhancer as it ensures that all visitors to the estate see, taste and feel the history of Groot Constantia,” says Newton. “Groot Constantia is celebrating 331 years of wine production this year, and as the oldest wine producing estate in South Africa, history is woven into the fabric of our story. From the moment visitors enter the Manor House – which houses the Iziko Museum of South Africa as the start of their Visitors Route experience they are transported back in history. This is done intentionally as we want visitors to understand the significance of Groot Constantia being a National Monument and a living museum with the task of preserving the history and cultural legacy of the South African wine industry for the people of South Africa.”
Groot Constantia boasts two top-notch restaurants, Jonkershuis and Simon’s, where visitors can eat after they have finished exploring the rest of the estate. “Along with the other offerings at Groot Constantia, these restaurants are definitely an influencing factor with regards to the growth in numbers that we have seen,” says Newton.
New tourism offerings mean increased employment opportunities
Jean Naudé, General Manager of Groot Constantia, says that a pleasing spin–off from rolling out this new Visitors Route is a growth in direct employment opportunities at the estate – with just the new tasting room alone requiring 10 additional employees as front of house staff.
“All of our staff receive formal training and for many this serves as a stepping stone into successful careers in the wine and hospitality industries,” says Naudé. “Several of our employees have started with jobs as front of house casuals and have gone on to become top sommeliers.”
Naudé goes on to state that, through this new Visitors Route offering, Groot Constantia are striving to provide a value-added experience that is attractive to South Africans who are looking for an affordable, holistic and enhanced Groot Constantia excursion. “In addition to this, although the current exchange rate is unfavourable to the South-African economy in general, it provides a good opportunity to reach out to international tourists and our growing numbers are testament to years of positioning and hard work within the tourism sector. In fact Groot Constantia is the only wine farm that is a member of the Big Seven tourist attractions in Cape Town.”
“Wine Tourism started at Groot Constantia in the 1700’s, with the first wine route map drawn up for the benefit of visitors in that era. Over 300 years later and the estate continues to move from strength to strength and the new Visitors Route is a natural extension, and necessary step to hone our tourism offerings,” says Newton. “We are all extremely excited about our growing visitor numbers and the creation of this new Visitors Route experience at Groot Constantia, and are looking forward to seeing further growth in our footfall.”
The new visitor route will be completed and ready for the new tourism season starting in the second half of 2016.
For more information on Groot Constantia visit www.grootconstantia.co.za.