Groot Constantia Wine Museum
Great wines combined with some of the best sights n Cape Town: what’s not to love? It may be a touch touristy, but this really is the mother of all South African wine estates, where Simon van der Stel (then governor of the Cape) planted our first vines, establishing the oldest wine industry outside Europe and the Mediterranean. Van de Stel had named the enormous estate (groot means ‘large’) after his daughter Constancia, and some of the wines produced here have gone on to strike accord with several illustrious Europeans, including Napoleon, who took a fancy to the ‘Vin de Constance’ during his exile years. Over the centuries, of course, the estate was parcelled off and pieces of it have gone on to become wine farms in their own right, each with their own Cape Dutch homestead. Besides partaking of the fare at either of the two restaurants, picnicking on the manicured lawns, or strolling the oak-lined avenues, you can take a walk through the original manor house, packed with Cape Dutch furniture, tour the antique wine cellar, and studiously follow the estate’s history in the small wine museum, where there’s considerable focus on the role played by slaves in the agricultural output of early wine-farming here at the Cape. N.B. The wines you can taste are very good, but winelovers should not miss an opportunity to sample the wines at nearby Klein Constantia which are generally superior (this is also where Vin de Constance is made) as well as those at Eagles Nest, also in Constantia.