Did you know that technically you do not have to leave Cape Town to reach the stunning Western Cape Winelands?
Just some 20 minutes from the sprawling Waterfront district, South Africa’s oldest wine growing area, the beautiful Constantia Valley, is home to nine award winning wineries.
Wine production in this area goes back to 1685 when land was granted to Simon van der Stel of the Dutch East India Company.
Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean by three sides, the area is characterized by cold maritime breezes from nearby False Bay, and an annual average temperature of 16°C degrees with warm summers and mild winters. As a result, the Constantia Valley is a typical cool-climate wine growing area and in particular known for its premium cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc and Bordeaux-style blends.
Read on for a quick intro to the nine excellent wineries in the Constantia Valley.
Founded in 1685 by Simon van der Stel, Grood Constantia not only is South Africa’s oldest but also remains one of the leading wine farms to this day. The estate, which today is a national monument, boasts stunning views over Table Mountain and nearby False Bay.
Back in the day, the winery quickly gained a name for its excellent wines and proudly counted Frederick the Great of Prussia, King Louis Philippe of France and Napoleon Bonaparte among those drinking Groot Constantia wines.
Today the estate produces a large range of wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinotage along with a rosé and MCC brut.
Beyond the wine, there is a visitor route (subject to a R 95 entrance fee at the time of writing) that will take you inside the stunning historic manor house, the Cloete Cellar (the winery’s original wine cellar) and the wine and cultural history museum whilst ending with a wine tasting.
In addition, food is served at Jonkershuis Restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Simons Restaurant, serving lunch and dinner.
Open daily 9 am – 4 pm
Groot Constantia Road
Tucked away on the upper slopes of the Constantiaberg Mountains, Klein Constantia originates from the division of the original Groot Constantia estate that took place in 1817.
The farm is often described as one of the world’s most beautiful wine estates. The first impression driving along rows of vines surrounded by colourful flower arrangements definitely confirms the claim.
Despite the sheer beauty, the winery is (still) less frequented than the bigger Groot Constantia. But maybe not for much longer.
Indeed, Klein Constantia has recently overhauled its tasting room facilities and having previously been one of the few (if not the only) winery in the Constantia Valley not offering a food option, last year added its bistro @KleinConstantia. On warmer days guest can sit outside on a small terrace shaded by large trees.
The bistro for now serves lunch only with the option of a two or three course menu, which are changing frequently according to seasonally available local produce.
Klein Constantia wines are among the top wines in South Africa and the winery is renowned for producing one fo the world’s best natural sweet wines, Vin de Constance.
Open Monday to Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm; Sunday 10 am – 4 pm
37 Klein Constantia Road
Nestled at the top of Constantia Nek, Beau Constantia is a beautiful boutique winery looking at only 16 years of existence. Despite the young age, the farm has already won a number of awards for its excellent range of wines.
The modern tasting room is essentially a glass box sitting high on the slopes, offering breathtaking views over the stunning Constantia Valley and False Bay.
On warmer days, there is truly no better place to enjoy a glass of wine or embark on a proper wine tasting than the veranda outside the tasting room.
Beau Constantia is also home to an exciting restaurant; a branch of the famous Chefs Warehouse. And the most intriguing part? Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia actually allows you to make advance bookings (all other branches of this highly thought-after location are one a first-come basis).
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm
Constantia Main Road
The beautiful, award-winning boutique winery sits just below Constantia Nek, right between the Constantiaberg and Table Mountain ranges.
A small cosy tasting room is located in a typical Cape Dutch style building, but the real gem is the beautiful terrace offering stunning views over the Constantia area.
There are various wine tasting options including a wine and chocolate pairing, or tasting several different flights of Constantia Glen wines.
For those that come with a hunger, the winery serves breakfast until mid-day as well as cheese and charcuterie platters, a selection of delicious Flammkuchen and light summer salads.
Open daily, 10 am – 8 pm
Constantia Main Road
Founded in 1685 as one of the earliest wine farms in the Constantia area, the estate changed hands a couple of times recently and in 2014 was purchased by its recent owner. The Constantia Uitsig visitor area has been undergoing a revamp since to add more visitor opportunities.
The main piece remains the Open Door Restaurant which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is actually an interesting story regarding the location of the restaurant. Former owner Willem Henrik Lategan in 1902 gave the permission to built a privately founded schoolhouse on the farm – the Tokai Primary School. The school continued to operate until 1987 when it was closed due to low numbers of pupils as there were now more schools in the area.
A Heritage Market was opened at the end of 2017, where you can find artisanal craft products including fresh farm produce, craft beer, sushi, coffee, chocolate, cakes and ice cream.
Constantia Utsig currently offers a wine tasting of three wines and there are cheese and charcuterie platters in case you grave some food with your wine.
For those keen to put in some exercise, there is also a large bike park on-site.
On a personal note, although the estate offers a lot of activities and products to buy I missed the typical winery atmosphere. It rather felt like a big amusement park and did not provide the typical wine-related experience I am looking for when visiting a winery.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm
Spaanschemat River Road
The farm is one of the oldest in the Cape Town / Constantia area but is boasting one of the most modern and stunning tasting rooms you can find in this area, built in 2009.
You can either sit on the beautiful outdoor terrace spotting two infinity pools (weather and space permitting), the cosy indoor wine tasting corner with comfy chairs and sofas or the wine bar with its stunning chandelier installation.
Steenberg is particularly renowned for its excellent Sauvignon Blanc but produces a range of other elegant wines too, including a range of MCCs, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz.
Integrated into the tasting facility, Bistro Sixteen82 offers a tapas and bistro-style menu and was recognized as one of the World’s 20 Best Winery Restaurants.
Open daily 10 am – 6 pm
The name means ‘beyond expectation’ and the estate certainly lives up to the claim.
Nestled on the east-facing slopes of the magnificent Constantiaberg and barely 12 kilometres from False Bay, Buitenverwachting once formed part of the original Constantia wine farm founded by Simon van der Stel.
The winery’s historic wine cellar today hosts the casual, rustic wine tasting room which also extends outside onto a small terrace overlooking the beautifully curate lawn, a favourite spot for picnics.
A fantastic recent addition to the wine tasting offer is the Amuse Vintage Pairing. It is taking place in the winery’s own restaurant and features a perfect combination of three (generously portioned) amuse-bouche paired to Buitenverwachting’s current and older vintage wines.
In addition to its excellent range of wines, the winery indeed has also a great culinary offer. Coffee BloC, a coffee shop and café is selling artisan coffee made from freshly roasted beans alongside a breakfast and light lunch menu.
The Buitenverwachting restaurant offers lunch and dinner (the latter only during the summer months) with a selection of seasonal traditional rustic and fine dining.
Open Monday to Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm
Klein Constantia Road
The story of Eagles Nest started in 1836 when the site was uses as refreshment station for travelers that has to cross the Constantia Nek mountain pass on their way from Wynberg to Hout Bay.
The historic buildings of the winery survived the fires that destroyed large parts of the area – and nearly everything else on the farm itself – in the summer of 2000. As a result, the 38 hectares of vines on the farm had to be completely replanted, which the owners took as an advantage to select only the most appropriate varietals for the specific location. Today, the winery produces award winning Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Merlot and Shiraz wines.
There is a small indoor tasting area extending onto a roofed terrace. However, weather permitting, a stunning large garden invites guest to settle around wooden tables shaded by huge trees.
Open daily 10 am – 4.30 pm
Old Constantia Main Road
Silvermist Organic Wine
Founded in 1984, this secluded organic wine farm is nestled on top of Constantia Nek. The farm is the only organically certified winery in the Constantia Valley.
The wine tasting facility offers spectacular views, including the famous Twelve Apostles and Longskloof Nature Reserve.
In addition to wine tasting, the farm has a hugely divers offer for visitors, including a boutique hotel, restaurants (one is the largely acclaimed, award-winning La Colombe), wildlife and hiking trails.
Oh yes, and one of the longest zip lines in South Africa!
Opening time vary according to the season
Main Road, Constantia
Have you been to Constantia Valley and it’s amazing wineries yet? Let me know about your experience.
Please note: All opening times refer to wine tasting. Other on-site facilities such as restaurants might have different timetables.