High Constantia Winery - Cape Town, South Africa
Established in 1693, High Constantia Winery began its historical journey as part of the Dutch East India Company outpost, originally called Wittebomen - because of the abundance of silverleaf trees.
In 1806 a section of this land, bordering on Groot Constantia to the north was granted to William Duckett - the British Agricultural adviser. In 1813 this land was bought by Jacob van Renen, son of Sebastiaan Valentijn van Renen (Snr).
Sebastiaan Valentijn van Renen originally masterminded the wine-farming venture on High Constantia. Convinced that the soil would be of the same exceptional quality as Groot Constantia’s and that the climate of the hills would give the wine its particular flavours.
Shortly before Sebastiaan Valentijn van Renen died, in May 1821, Jacob transferred the farm to his younger brother, Sebastiaan Valentijn Jnr. Who named the property ‘Sebastiaan’s High Constantia’. Soon establishing the reputation of his farm, and by 1827 its wine was commanding prices in England.
By 1841 High Constantia and Groot Constantia were sole competitors in the area, Cloete relying on antiquity and tradition, Van Renen on his competitive prices.
High Constantia, in its heyday, comprised three main buildings set amidst gardens, lawns and trees. Notable was a great oak, near the cellar, in which was constructed a platform where family and friends took their ease. The date, name, ship and destination of the numerous visitors who journeyed to High Constantia during this period were recorded in its three visitor’s books. At times, the amount and type of wine (Frontinac & Pontac) were also listed.
On a small corner of the original land, David van Niekerk is restoring ‘High Constantia’ to its former winemaking glory. They are planting stocks and producing from their cellar – a structure that is reminiscent of High Constantia’s original home for wine – wines that, while they echo the gracious past of the former estate, give new life to the subtle flavours born of the mystic inter-relationship between earth and climate in the Constantia valley.
Groot Constantia Road
Cell: +27 (083) 300 2064
Tel: +27 (021) 794 7171
Fax: +27 (021) 794 7999
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