Last week, we finally made our way to Groot Constantia Wine Estate, the oldest wine estate in South Africa. You may not know this about South Africa because it doesn’t get enough credit, but the country produces some of the best wine in the world, including a regional favorite, pinotage. There are several wine regions within driving distance of Cape Town, including Stellenbosch, Franschoek, and Constantia. Up until last week, we’d only spent time in Stellenbosch (although a lot of it!).
Groot Constantia is a seriously gorgeous wine estate. Like “is this place real life?” type of gorgeous. Picture centuries-old Dutch architecture buildings dropped into a valley between staggering mountain ranges surrounded by fields of grape vines. And that is where I got to spend my day. Yet another reminder of how very lucky we are to be spending this time in South Africa!
We started out with a tour of the cellars and a tasting. They make a whole lotta wine.
Sorry about the terrible lighting- fluorescent does not make for a pretty picture. But rest assured that these wine barrels were all kinds of pretty. Our guide did a great job of explaining the process.
We learned that they actually don’t age their white wines in barrels, but they stay in these huge white tanks. I generally prefer red wine, but I do love a chilled glass of chenin blanc on these hot days.
I loved this incredibly old wine press they had on display!
And a sign put together out of corks.
We got to see the room where all the barrels are stored to age. It’s kept dark and temperature regulated. That’s a lotta booze!
Then wine tasting! One of my favorite parts of any tour. We had a pinotage, shiraz, red blend, chardonnay, and a white blend.
All of the wines were incredible. Even the shiraz, which she said should age a while longer, was quite good. We bought a bottle of their pinotage while sampling some of their crazy delicious port wine in the shop.
After the tour and tasting, we walked around the grounds until our dinner reservations. The views were unbelievable.
And the old Cape Dutch Architecture is an amazing sight. The estate was established in 1685 and some of the buildings date back that far.
After gawking at all that we could around the grounds, we made our way to one of their several restaurants, Simon’s. The power had actually gone out during our wine tour due to rolling blackouts. These happen occasionally here when there are electricity shortages. We were a little nervous about how this would effect dinner, but we ventured over. They sat us, so we assumed it wasn’t an issue. It actually most certainly was! They were serving items from the menu that could be grilled, which was just fine for us. Fiance got a nice big steak with a pepper sauce and a salad. I had an ostrich steak with a mushroom sauce and grilled veggies. It was this moment in history (write it down!) that I discovered I actually like mushrooms. I know, I know! This is something I should have figured out long ago.
All in all, it was an incredible day, and we definitely plan on making one more trip out there before leaving! If you’re in Cape Town and want to visit wineries, make sure to add Groot Constantia to your list. They offer some incredible wines, beautiful grounds, and great food.
Parting note: I think I’m going to have to start adding a count down to my South Africa Sunday posts… only 35 days until we head back to Portland! Just five more Sundays. What the what!