Groot Constantia is an ancient farm, declared a national monument, located in the suburbs of Cape Town. The farm lands occupy part of the Cape Peninsula in front of False Bay. Groot Constantia was founded in 1685 by the Dutch governor of the Cape of Good Hope colony, Simon van der Stel. The farm was used from the beginning for the production of wine, fruit, vegetables and for cattle breeding.
THE HISTORY OF GROOT CONSTANTIA
A few years after Simon van der Stel’s death in 1712, the property changed hands. In fact in 1716 it was purchased by Captain Oloff Bergh. Then in the following years the property passed first to Carl George Wieser and then in 1777 to Jan Serrurier. Serrurier was forced to sell the farm after only twelve months, in 1779, to Hendrik Cloete. The estate remained the property of the Cloete family until 1885. The Cloetes restructured the property and significantly improved the quality of the wine, making their productions become internationally renowned. The wine produced in Constantia became very popular in the royal houses of Europe.
In 1885 Groot Costantia was sold to a public auction to the Cape government and used as an agricultural estate and for the testing of vines. Later in 1925 a fire damaged part of the main house, which was however restored a few years later. In 1969 Groot Costantia became part of the South African Cultural History Museum. Today the Groot Constantia museum displays the history of rural slavery and the life of slaves during the Dutch colonial period in the Cape. Groot Constantia, is today the finest example of Cape Dutch architecture in South Africa and one of the oldest buildings in the country.
A VERY GOOD CLIMATE FOR THE VINE
The vineyards are located in a deep valley on the eastern side of Table Mountain. This area with cool climate and excellent soil is the ideal place for the cultivation and production of excellent quality wine. Here mainly red wines like Shiraz, and Merlot etc. are produced. The area has a maritime climate thanks to the influence of the ocean and an annual rainfall of around 1,100 mm, with 78% of the rain falling between May and October.
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