Described as one of the world’s most beautiful vineyards, Klein Constantia is set amidst ancient trees and lush greenery on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg, with superb views across the Constantia Valley and False Bay. The 360-acre (146-hectare) estate originally formed part of Constantia, a vast property established in 1685 by Simon van der Stel, the first governor of the Cape. This particular valley was chosen not only for its beauty, but also for the decomposed granite soils on its slopes, gently cooled by ocean breezes. Klein Constantia’s lusciously sweet wine, Vin de Constance, rose to prominence in the 1800s. It was savored by the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte, Queen Victoria, and Thomas Jefferson, and it found its way into the writing of many great 18th and 19th century authors. Unfortunately, its production ceased in the mid-19th century when odium infected the vineyards, only to be followed by the arrival of phylloxera. After many years of research and consultation by some of South Africa’s top historians and viticulturists, the wine was resurrected in 1986 to almost instant acclaim and has enjoyed top accolades ever since. Today, Klein Constantia continues to make some of South Africa’s top wines and world-class dessert wines, which reflect the cool Constantia climate and historic traditions.
Location of Vineyard
The concept of terroir has a strong influence on the character of wine produced at Klein Constantia, with soil and climatic conditions ideal for producing grapes with ample fruit flavors. Situated between 230 and 1,125 feet (70 and 343 meters) above sea level with a constant sea breeze above 490 feet (150 meters), temperatures remain cool, preserving the fruit during ripening. With the ocean a mere 6 miles (10 kilometers) away, the wind plays an important factor too, often stressing the vineyard and resulting in an increase in concentration and flavor. Part of South Africa’s Constantia Wine Route, the farm is situated on the eastern slopes and foothills of Constantiaberg, with 90% of the property south to east facing. The higher slopes are some of the colder slopes in the Cape, with fewer sunlight hours and lower temperatures, ideal for preserving the acidity and pH of white varieties, especially Sauvignon Blanc. Klein Constantia is custodian to some of the most historic vineyards in South Africa and, indeed, the world. The unique location, climate, and soils of the estate call for making terroirdriven wine.
Simple winemaking techniques are used to extract the best from grapes grown in expertly nurtured vineyards in the aim of producing wines of high quality that express elements of elegance, minerality, and balance. As a BWI champion (Biodiversity in Wine Initiative), the vision is aligned with that of the World Wildlife Fund as Klein Constantia aims to unite conservation and agricultural development in a complementary, mutually beneficial manner. Klein Constantia continually strives to produce wines in more environmentally responsible and biodynamic ways.