In Their Words
Klein Constantia History & Location
Dating back to 1685 and described as one of the world’s most beautiful wine estates, Klein Constantia is set amidst ancient trees on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg, 25 mins from Cape Town’s city centre. The perfect location for cool climate wines, Klein Constantia produces some of South Africa’s top vintages, including one of the world’s best natural sweet wines: Vin de Constance.
The estate features an elegantly renovated tasting room which overlooks our cellar, a charming curio gallery and a celebrated bistro which flows outside under the Jacaranda trees.
Klein Constantia Operating Hours
Wine Tasting: open daily 10am-5pm (last tasting 1 hour prior). Pre-booking strongly advised due to limited seating.
Bistro: open Tue to Sun for lunch, 12pm-3pm. Note, cheese plates are available until 4pm.
Vineyard Drive: available on application, subject to availability and weather conditions.
We are open on Public Holidays 10am-5pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day. All times, prices and facilities listed are subject to change. We recommend checking latest details directly with the farm and pre-booking experiences wherever possible, to avoid disappointment.
Klein Constantia Wine Tasting
Klein Constantia’s philosophy is founded on quality rather than quantity, reflected in our wines regularly receiving top South African and international accolades. From various expressions of Sauvignon Blanc to the iconic Vin de Constance, our range of award-winning wines are available for tasting daily, for groups of 6 or less.
Please note due to the size of our Tasting Room, pre-booking is strongly recommended and walk ins can only be accommodated when space allows.
Wine Tasting Prices
Our indoor tasting room offers guests a unique and focused wine tasting experience.
The Klein Constantia Signature Tasting of 6 wines (R120pp) includes our flagship Sauvignon Blanc and renowned Vin de Constance; the Anwilka Signature Tasting features red wines from our sister estate in Stellenbosch (R100pp); the Sauvignon Blanc Terroir Tasting (R250pp) includes limited release and/or single site Sauvignon Blancs, or try our Vin de Constance tasting of two vintages (R200pp).
A curated plate of artisanal cheeses is available during your wine tasting, for a cost of R155 per plate (serves 2 as a snack).
Klein Constantia Restaurants
The popular Klein Constantia Bistro is open for lunch and features an indoor seating area open to the kitchen, plus outdoor seating under the Jacaranda trees. The restaurant focuses on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients – with the menu embodying a ‘farm to table’ theme. Complementing our country bistro style food is a selection of Klein Constantia wines and some superb older and rarer vintages from our wine library.
Please note there is a maximum of 6 guests per table and children under the age of 12 are unfortunately not permitted.
Menus & Pricing
The bistro usually offers a 2 course (R345pp) or 3 course (R445pp) set menu, with a choice of 4 classically-influenced starters and 4 mains. Previous offerings have included grilled prawns, braised beef rib, pan fried quail and chocolate brownies. A vegetarian option is available for a reduced cost (from R265pp / R365pp).
Wine pairing can be added to any 2 course meal for an extra R120pp, or R220 for a pairing alongside all 3 courses. Curated cheese boards are also served from mid-afternoon, once the main kitchen has closed.
Klein Constantia Tours & Activities
Klein Constantia offer a scenic Vineyard Drive in an open top Landrover, which includes 30 minutes exploring the Estate by road and 15 minutes at a dam viewing deck, for a wine tasting. This drive is for 2-6 people at a cost of R450pp and is weather dependent. Pre-booking essential – departures on request.
Adjacent to the bistro, Klein Constantia is also home to an artisan curio shop, selling beautiful locally crafted gifts including candles, decanters, wooden cheese boards and handmade baskets.
When Lucy Visited
If you take your wine and history seriously and are looking for a heritage estate with a flagship wine coveted by nobles for over 300 years, you’ve come to the right place!
So what makes Klein Constantia stand out?
Constantia is renowned as the oldest wine producing region in the Southern Hemisphere and with Klein Constantia’s own inception being the year 1685, you simply don’t get much more historic than that – and they rightly take their premium wines seriously.
Set in the heart of the rural Constantia Valley, as you enter the estate you’re welcomed by sprawling vines as far as the eye can see, sloping upwards on three sides towards Table Mountain National Park. I can’t imagine this beautiful setting has changed much since those early days, though the farm has of course been modernised over time and is now a charming mix of classic and contemporary.
Visitors from all over the world flock to Klein Constantia for its most famous export: the highly celebrated ‘Vin de Constance’. A stunning sweet wine, it’s been produced since the 1700s and has been a favourite amongst European nobility ever since, including Louis XVI & Marie-Antoinette (they kept 2,634 bottles in their cellar in 1782!), George Washington, Queen Elizabeth and Napoleon Bonaparte – who apparently drunk a bottle a day and even requested a glass on his deathbed. More on Vin de Constance later.
So What About The Farm Itself?
Considering the size of the estate, it may come as a surprise to realise that it only comprises of two main adjoining parts: an indoor classically styled Tasting Room which overlooks the spectacular cellar, plus an intimate modern Bistro, which has indoor and outdoor patio seating (apologies on the day I visited it began to pour with rain and I struggled to get decent photos of the bistro!).
The bistro serves lunch only (and only wine, cordial or water) and is popular with local couples and small older family groups (note, no kids under 12 and I would definitely say the estate is geared for adults only). It’s only a small space so felt very personal but it was a hive of activity with an open kitchen. I had a peek at the outside patio area before it started to rain and it looked cosy, with a few tables scattered under the Jacaranda trees – although no real far-reaching views to speak of. This is all about intimacy here.
Between the Tasting Room and the Bistro there’s also a really lovely little open plan Boutique selling beautiful handmade produce such as candles, baskets and jams. You can also peek into antique cabinets displaying ancient Vin de Constance vintages, complete with age old handwritten notes. So charming. Unfortunately, there are no other old buildings to explore but adorning the walls are fascinating story boards which bring to life the estate’s colourful history – a real sense of the importance of time and heritage.
The Tasting Room is fairly unique in that whilst it doesn’t include any significant exterior views, you are instead treated to the spectacular sight of the enormous cellar, with towering stainless steel tanks and 500 litre old oak barrels. Klein Constantia take their winemaking very seriously and the focused tasting experience has been designed to immerse you in the epicentre of this historic working wine farm, whilst still retaining an elegant feel (the glazed tile floors were polished to perfection, there are beautiful stained glass windows on display and soft piano music flowing in the background). You won’t find any jungle gyms, kids activities, wine pairings or picnics here – this is passionate winemaking which they want to share with fellow wine lovers.
The main tasting area holds just 8 or so tables and with no outside seating, I can’t stress enough how vital it is to pre-book as this is a really popular indoor spot (particularly so on wet and winter days). Due to its proximity to the cellar, the tasting area can be chilly and there are no fires – so bring layers. Again this is not for younger children – very much couples and small groups.
They do also have a magnificent area inside the cellar on the upper level, where a long table sits amongst enormous 4500 litre oak barrels in front of beautiful stained glass windows. They advised they sometimes use this as an overspill area if appropriate or host their own intimate wine-focused events. Note Klein Constantia don’t generally host external events, weddings or parties.
What About The Wine Tasting?
When I visited Klein Constantia, they offered just one dedicated premium tasting, which was their 5 wine Signature Flight (R100pp). They have just annouced they are expanding this however for the 2021 summer season, to include a dedicated Sauvignon Blanc Terroir Tasting, an Anwilka Signature red wine tasting and a tasting of two Vin de Constance vintages. Reason to go back!
The Signature Flight that I had now includes 6 wines, but the 5 I tried included their celebrated Sauvignon Blanc, a more unusual Riesling and the lavish Vin de Constance, making it exceptional value. Cheese plates are also available to order which would suit two as a snack.
Each wine was served individually and the wine host was very clear and engaging whilst he explained about the estate’s varietals and ideal cool climatic conditions. I particularly enjoyed his animated re-telling of the Napoleonic legend that the man himself asked for a last glass of Vin de Constance on his deathbed – and how the recipe for this iconic tipple has evolved over time.
So… how WAS the famed Vin de Constance, I hear you ask! All I can say is – wow. Talk about nectar of the gods! Litchi and a little citrus which just oozes in your mouth. It takes almost 3 years to produce from picking and at R1250 a bottle it’s not cheap – but I devoured every last drop and left thinking how on earth can I afford a bottle to take home!
An iconic, boutique estate with an abundance of history and character, Klein Constantia deserves a visit for the Vin de Constance alone! Do be mindful that the experience is heavily geared towards adults and wine lovers, plus is predominantly indoors with that impressive cellar backdrop. Due to its size, definitely pre-book to ensure you get a seat and stay for lunch afterwards!
If you do want to explore the farm’s spectacular outdoor setting, book their popular Vineyard Tour (R450pp). Guided by vehicle, this includes a stop at their scenic viewing platform at their dam, plus a wine tasting and picture-perfect views.