I grew up in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs, which meant that visiting the wine farms in the Constantia area was always a regular pastime. Whether it was as a child with my mom and her friends, or doing tastings myself as I got older, I have visited these world-famous farms for years. So when I was invited on a tour of the area with The Constantia Wine Tour, I was over the moon!
The Constantia Wine Tour is a small company run by three self-proclaimed ‘wine enthusiasts’ who run bespoke, curated wine tasting experiences in Constantia region and the Cape Winelands. They have also managed to snap up some prestigious awards such as best wine tour operator in Cape Town by Luxury Travel Guide in 2016 and were listed as one of the top 10 best experiences/attractions by South African Tourism and Cape Town Tourism.
They offer a variety of tours varying in focus, length and price. Each tour includes pick up and drop off from your place of accommodation in an air-conditioned vehicle and an experienced tour guide to share history from the area and facts about the farms. The Constantia Wine Tour mixed some of their tours together to give us a little taste of everything.
Our first stop of the day was long time favourite, Steenberg Estate, who produce some excellent wines and have a gorgeous tasting room. On the way there, George, our tour guide, regaled us with the history of the farm and stories about Catharina Ras, the farm’s fearless founder. On arrival, George parked to allow us to appreciate the view, pointing out exactly where we were and the mountain ranges around us. We then took seats outside for the Flagship Tasting which consists of their 1682 Chardonnay MCC, Black Swan Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Semillion 2016, Nebbiolo 2015 and the Catharina 2015 (a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot).
The Nebbiolo stood out as a gem because we rarely see this Italian grape varietal in South Africa. My boyfriend calls it “Game of Thrones” wine because of its garnet colour and how easy it is to drink. It is a delicious amalgamation of sour cherries, fresh herbs and fynbos. It really is one of the most delicious and interesting wines the region has to offer. We bought several bottles to take home.
Situated smack bang in the middle of the valley, Constantia Glen has some of the best views the region has to offer. By the time we arrived, it was just about midday on one of the freakishly hot days this year. (I was very appreciative of the air conditioning in the bus!) It is one of the most popular farms and I have often tried to pop in and been unable to get parking, let alone a table! It was this part of The Constantia Wine Tour experience that really stood out for me. No queues and no waiting. We were prioritised from start to finish, and even being seated in the glasshouse at a table with the best view!
We did the full tasting of all eight of their wines. My favourite was the Constantia Glen Three which is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It is wonderfully rounded and smooth, with all the best characteristics of a good Bordeaux blend.
We also ate lunch at Constantia Glen. Depending on the option you choose for your tour with The Constantia Wine Tour, lunch may or may not be included in your package. Constantia Glen has expanded their menu and you can now choose from a variety of delicious meals. We had the cheese and charcuterie platter which was huge, delicious and reasonably priced. I must admit, Constantia Glen has always been my go to for cheese and charcuterie, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
It was at Klein Constantia where The Constantia Wine Tour really impressed. Before we did any wine tasting, we were whisked away for a 4×4 tour of their vineyard, stopping at their dams, beehives and specific vineyards along the way with our guide George, but also with one of the assistants at Klein Constantia who went into detail about the farm and their wines. This ended with an MCC tasting on a wooden deck overlooking the whole of False Bay.
We then proceeded on a full tour of the winery, learning extensively how they make their wines followed by a cellar tour. We ended the day with a full wine tasting in the private cellar which has at least one bottle of all the wines the farm has ever produced, as well as a large collection of other wines, both local and international, to ensure they stay on top of the trends in wine making throughout the world.
In the cellar, we tasted the Metis Sauvingon Blanc 2015, the Riesling 2015, the Chardonnay 2015, the Estate Red Blend 2014, the Anwilka Red Blend 2013 and the star of the show, the Vin de Constance 2013.
The Vin de Constance is like liquid gold. It is their world-famous dessert wine which they have produced every year for decades. Part of our cellar tour included an extensive history of their wines, including that it was a favourite of Napoleon Bonaparte and Jane Austen! Although sweet, it is perfectly balanced, with flavours of marmalade and fresh citrus.
My tour with The Constantia Wine Tour was stress-free, fuss-free and driving free, meaning we could really enjoy ourselves without having to worry about having a designated driver. It’s perfect for tourists, large groups of friends, or even just a couple wanting to have a fun day out in the winelands, even if you’re a regular in the region like me, there is lots to learn and lots to discover.
Please see their tour information for more information and details including duration, price and activities per option.
Note: For the above post I was invited as a guest by the company. All content, views and images are my own except the company logo.