As a South African, I am blessed to represent the following statistic to you: “South Africa has the longest wine route in the world.” Well if that didn’t put the seal on your South African trip, I don’t know what will!
Let us take a journey through history in order for you to get a background of how South Africa became world-renowned for wine production.
Simon van Der Stel, the first governer of Cape Point, saw the potential of wine making in the Western Cape even in the year of 1679. In 1685, he established the magnificent Constantia wine farm as a model to Dutch farmers. But as we all know, the Dutch are not known for their wine production, and soon Van der Stel discovered a better way to improve farming. When King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, providing religious tolerance in France, many Huguenot (Protestant) refugees made their way to Holland. Van der Stel asked to provide passage to the Cape for any of them who had experience in wine farming and roughly 200 French settlers came over.
This is how wine production in South Africa began, and that is why I am filled with a sense of honour to be able to be standing in the gardens of Groot Constatia, who is still producing wine 326 years later. Its difficult to describe this winery in the sense that it moves you by its history, but it is also located in a picture perfect valley. The gardens, the white manor houses, and the cellars are connected with paths that are covered by the shade of trees which seems anchient, whilst the squirrels look like spectators admiring your from afar.
Then, of course, are their wines! Not only has this winery won various awards for their wines, which is produced in a wide variety, but it is world-renowned. My whole day was spend wandering around the vineyards, learning about the art of wine making, tasting plenty of samples, and of course checking out the coffee shop (which we visited numerous times).
We would like to thank Groot Constantia for allowing us to use their photos, and of course, we are happy that we will be seeing them during our Hello Yebo tour.