The Historical Constantia Wine Route and Its Elegant Wine Estates
One thing is certain, Capetonians love wine. So they should.
After all, South Africa’s oldest vineyard and wine estate can be found in the lush, affluent suburb of Constantia. When visitors ask which estate I recommend for wine tasting in Cape Town, I usually tell them to go to Groot Constantia because it’s not just the wine I enjoy, but the atmosphere and history too.
However, there are other equally lovely wine estates to consider in Constantia that exude as much character and history as the aforementioned – that is why the Constantia wine route was established.
A popular way for tourists to explore the wine route is either by taking the Red Bus purple tour from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (next to the Two Oceans Aquarium), or by renting a car for the duration of their stay in Cape Town.
Driving along the Constantia wine route, you’ll come across the following wine estates vying for your attention:
· Constantia Glen
· Beau Constantia
· Constantia Uitsig
· Eagles’ Nest
· Groot Constantia
· Klein Constantia
Constantia Glen wine estate lies in the oldest wine-producing area of Cape Town, proudly perched upon the magnificent Constantiaberg. This wine estate has been producing wine since 1685. Visit Constantia Glen for its inspiring scenery of vineyards and mountains (also, so you can tell your friends you’ve been to one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa).
Address: Constantia Main Road, Constantia, Cape Town.
GPS coordinates: -34.0134398,18.4136846,17
Business hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00am–5:00pm
Situated at the top of Constantia Nek, Beau Constantia wine estate offers so many beautiful viewpoints that you won’t know where to focus your gaze. Perhaps the magnificent view over False Bay will pull you in first, or maybe the sweeping panorama of the Simonsberg and Helderberg Mountains. It doesn’t matter, the scenery is 360°. Beau Constantia’s vines are planted on one of the steepest agricultural slopes in Cape Town, 350m above sea level. An admirable programme, with which Beau Constantia is aligned, is the removal of alien vegetation and replacing it with indigenous flora.
Address: Constantia Main Road Constantia Nek, Constantia 7806
GPS coordinates: -34° 0′ 45.00″, +18° 24′ 21.00″
Business hours: Monday – Sunday 10.00am-4.30pm
Buitenverwachting forms part of the original Constantia wine estate founded by Simon van der Stel. The estate, which means “Beyond Expectations”, has exchanged hands through the years and has undergone changes since it was first sold, but thankfully the historical buildings have been restored. The wine that Buitenverwachting produces is internationally acclaimed and well worth a visit for purchasing a bottle to add to your international wine collection.
Address: Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia Road, Constantia, Cape Town
GPS coordinates: S 34° 2’ 23” E 18° 25’ 24”
Business hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00am–5:00pm, Saturday 10:00am–3:00pm, closed on Sundays
Constantia Uitsig used to be part of Simon van der Stel’s Groot Constantia, but in 1894 a man named Willem Lategan married a woman with a great inheritance, and used the money to build Constantia Uitsig. In 1988, the McCays purchased the farm and have restored it and given it a sophisticated touch. Today, the estate produces award-winning wines, has three restaurants, a private cricket field, spa & wellness centre, as well as a luxury hotel on its premises.
Address: Spaanschemaat River Road, Constantia 7806, Cape Town
GPS coordinates: S 34° 02’ 47” E 18° 25’ 32”
Business hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00am-5:00pm. Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 10:00am-5:00pm
Eagles’ Nest is located between the historic Constantia Mountain range, which also forms part of Table Mountain – a World Heritage Site. The estate has a lovely garden with wooden benches under large shady trees where you can have an enjoyable picnic, and there is a raised deck adjoined to the restaurant. The food is delicious, so order something to eat if you’re not the picnic type.
*Picnics are available from November to March, depending on weather.
In 1836, Eagles’ Nest was utilised as a refreshment stop between what is now known as Wynberg, and Hout Bay. In 2000, a fire almost destroyed Eagles’ Nest. Fortunately, the historical buildings survived unscathed.
Address: Old Constantia Main Road, Constantia
GPS coordinates: S34deg 0’54.2″ E018deg 24’54.3″
Business hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00am-4.30pm
Considered the grandfather of wine estates in Cape Town, it would be a mistake to bypass Groot Constantia. Groot Constantia’s heritage is as deep as the oldest vines planted in Cape soil. The original owner of the estate was the Cape’s first governor, Simon van der Stel, who built himself a beautiful house in Cape Dutch style on the estate. After his death, the estate was divided and sold in three sections – Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia and Bergvliet.
Part of the experience of visiting Groot Constantia is admiring the impressive architecture and expansive vineyards. It goes without saying that the wine is superb. The estate also boasts one of Cape Town’s best restaurants, Jonkershuis.
Address: Groot Constantia Rd, Constantia, Cape Town
GPS coordinates: GPS: S 34° 01’ 37,03” E 18° 25’ 28,84”
Business hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00am–6:00pm.
Set atop the hills of the Constantiaberg with sweeping views across False Bay, Klein Constantia estate is thought to be the prettiest wine estate in Cape Town. With an impressive history dating back to 1685, some say that Klein Constantia is the most historic vineyard in South Africa. The favourable cool sea air surrounding the estate and rich granite soil allows Klein Constantia to produce world-winning wines and dessert wines.
Address: Klein Constantia Road, Constantia
GPS coordinates: S 34° 2’ 17” E 18° 24’ 46”
Business hours: Monday – Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 10am-4.30pm & 10am-5pm (December & January). Closed Sundays
Steenberg is another of Cape Town’s old wine estates in the Constantia Valley. Here, vineyards thrive along the sea-facing fertile slopes, which have helped build Steenberg’s reputation for producing top quality wines. Steenberg’s portfolio of wines includes Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Merlot, Shiraz and Nebbiolo – an Italian cultivar. The Magna Carta, a five star wine, is Steenberg’s most recent endeavour to produce one of the country’s finest wines.
Address: 10802 Steenberg Road, Constantia, Cape Town
GPS coordinates: S 34°14’ 17.90” E 18° 25’ 30 83”
Business hours: Open 7 days a week, 10:00am-6:00pm