Groot Constantia

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Founded in 1685 and South Africa's first vineyard, Groot Constantia Estate was the grape-stomping ground of Simon van der Stel, first governor of the Cape, back in the day. Through the years, the estate's wines have tickled the palates of kings and conquerors and had poets and authors waxing lyrical about their ambrosial eminence. The orientation centre, imposing old manor house and the Cloete Cellar wine museum cover the history of winemaking and the estate. Or head straight for the cellar for a guided tour and a chance to taste what all the fuss is about, before heading off to one of the two restaurants to enjoy the vista with a few glasses of vino.


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Groot Constantia details

Address
Groot Constantia Road,
Constantia

Area Cape Town

Telephone 21 794 5128

Groot Constantia website

Open May-Oct 9am-5pm daily. Nov-Apr 9am-6pm daily.

Admission Manor House Museum R10 adults; R5 reductions. Informal tastings R25 (5 wines). Cellar tours R30 (includes a tasting).

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Comments & ratings

By Jan Laubscher - May 9 2010

On Friday the Madame and myself venture out to the Constantia wine route with the relativity new Cape Point Vineyards as our final destination. A combination of irrelevant situations prevent us from an early departure so we left just after 12:00. We were still under the impression that this should be early enough to give Groot Constantia a go, seeing that our last visit, about a year ago, were absolutely appalling to say the least. In this time we’ve been to more then 200 wine farms, met the Groot Constantia wine maker and educated our palettes extensively. So we thought our new knowledge will help us appreciate this grand wine icon’s tasting experience a bit more. What a big mistake!

Going to Groot Constantia as a normal wine consumer is as good as booking yourself into Pollsmoor Prison for a gang rape session. This place’ only mission is to screw you over. I will never in my life go their again. It’s a vulgar place where the useless wine staff’s total lack of interest contaminant the wine until it taste like vinegar. With each sip I just wanted to go and escape from this Groot nightmare. That fact that we had to pay for this experience made me feel like a complete idiot. For R28 you get wine, full stop. What type of wine? Who knows, no one there cares to tell us. They were to busy doing nothing. I’ve experience better service from a sampling stand in the Pick n Pay.

When we left I almost had a tear in my eye. If this is our wine icon which showcase our wine industry and present our friendly South African service to thousand of tourists a year, I’m crying with embarrassment. As we drove to our next stop it occurred to me that this experience now influenced my whole perspective of the Constantia route. I wanted to warn all the other wineries in the Constantia area about this gangster that rape tourist and locals alike, while hiding in sleep clothes made from years of history and heritage. If the Constantia wine route is not careful this place will drag the whole area down into it’s wicket ways. I do not know if the people at Groot Constantia are under the impression that the general public are idiots and that we do not know when someone rips us off, but I’ve got news from them, we do. I will never go back to this useless institution, never drink their wine (even if every bottle they every make from now onwards get 5 stars from Platter and its cronies) and will make a point to warn ever tourist and South African never to go here again.

But on a lighter point the next farm we visited, after this fiasco, quickly cemented my respect and love for the Constantia route. There are truly amazing gems here, if you can look pass the pile of sheet that is Groot Constantia.

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