Klein Constantia: Implausibly picturesque estate, pleasurable wines


Situated on the foothills of Table Mountain in a south east-facing valley overlooking False Bay the Constantia Estate was originally established in 1684 just over 30 years after the first vines were planted in the Cape.


There followed a glorious age of winemaking with Constantia’s wines achieving huge fame: mentioned by literary luminaries including Jane Austen, Baudelaire and Charles Dickens and even requested by Napoleon on his deathbed! However with the devastating arrival of Phylloxera in the vineyards in the 1880s winemaking ceased for almost a century.

The estate was well used in the intervening years. The stunning Cape Dutch Manor House was the setting for extravagant “Gatsbyesque” parties during the Twenties; peacocks wandered the lawns, caviar, oysters and Champagne flowed. Ownership was transferred a number of times until finally in the early Eighties Duggie Jooste decided to re-engage with serious winemaking. This culminated in the first modern vintage of Klein Constantia’s wines, including the fabled sweet Vin de Constance, being released in 1985.


The future of the estate is ensured with business expertise provided by Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman and winemaking overseen by Bruno Prats of Ch Cos d’Estournel fame and Hubert de Bouard of Ch Angélus. They make some very good limited production Sauvignon Blanc from numbered blocks and their 2010 Shiraz, which is only made in good years, was packed with sweet blackberry and white pepper. The reds from their sister property Anwilka in Stellenbosch are impressive and unsurprisingly have received plenty of critical acclaim over the years.


We will be offering the stunning Vin de Constance 2008 in a couple of weeks, so watch this space….