In 1685, during an annual visit to the Cape, Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein granted the grounds of Groot Constantia to Simon van der Stel the VOC Governor of the Cape of Good Hope.
Van der Stel built the house and used the land to produce wine as well as other fruit and vegetables, and for cattle farming. Following Van der Stel’s death in 1712 the estate was broken up and sold in three parts: Groot Constantia; Klein Constantia; and Bergvliet.
In 1779 the portion of the estate including Van der Stel’s Cape Dutch-style manor house was sold to the Cloete family, who planted extensive vineyards and extended and improved the mansion by commissioning the architect Louis Michel Thibault. The wine cellar was added by Cloete in 1791. The house remained in the possession of the Cloete family until 1885, during which period the estate became famous for its production of Constantia dessert wine.
In 1885 Groot Constantia was purchased by the government of the Cape of Good Hope and was used as an experimental wine and agricultural estate. Following a disastrous fire in 1925 the house was extensively restored.
Address: Old Constantia Main Road, Constantia 7806, Cape Town, South Africa
GPS: S 34° 01’ 37,03” E 18° 25’ 28,84”
Phone: +27 (0)21 794 5128
Fax: +27 (0)21 794 1999
Business Hours: Open 9am – 6pm Mon – Sun. Cellar tours every hour on the hour 10am – 4pm