Only minutes from Cape Town city centre, Constantia Wine Route is short enough to explore in a single day. It offers an extraordinary history as the birthplace of South African wine, its immaculate views and its surprisingly varied grape varieties and wine styles that will suit every palate.
I live near (around the corner, down the road and over the bridge on the 'wrong' side of the tracks) from Constantia and know these wineries so well. They're how we spend a lazy weekend. A few are technically within walking distance (a great way to get my 10k steps a day done and dusted) from where I live. Many sites list the 'best Constantia wine farms' worth visiting. If you're heading to Constantia, here's what I'd do:
Located at the furthest end of the Constantia Wine Route (when heading from Cape Town city centre), this beautiful winery is the oldest registered Cape farm, established in 1682. It overlooks Silvermine Nature Reserve as well as False Bay Coast in the distance.
With a 5-star luxury hotel, spa, golf estate, two fabulous restaurants and wine tasting, there is no shortage of things to do at this farm. But there is nothing snooty about this farm - they have the most consistently impeccable and friendly service; your visit to Constantia wouldn’t be complete without this experience. Steenberg offers 4 wine tastings as well as a private tasting for larger groups of 11 to 20 people.
Consistently impeccable service!
Constantia Uitsig is the very next winery on the Constantia Wine Route. Part of the original Constantia farm established by Cape Governor Simon van der Stel in the 17th century, it was subdivided and became part of first Bergvliet, Buitenverwachting, Constantia View and then renamed to Constantia Uitsig in 1941.
This farm has transitioned a number of times in the last few years. It now features an impressive glass-walled wine cellar, a mountain bike park, the wonderful Block House restaurant, and a lane of restored labourer’s cottages that form their Heritage Market (this includes slow-churned ice cream, sushi, fish and chips, a deli and café). It’s clear that the space is focused on being a family and child friendly environment.
Skip this farm if you're wanting to taste wine - but a good family-focused spaced and great for food (Blockhouse Kitchen, Four and Twenty, and Sushi Box)
Location: Spaanschemat River Road, Constantia
Hours: Saturday from 10h00-18h00 and from 10h00-16h30 on Sundays with tastings of their Constantia Uitsig and Ex Oppido vintage ranges available at Blockhouse Kitchen
Contact: 021 794 6500 / email@example.com | Uitsig.co.za | Facebook | Instagram
Quite possibly the most beautifully named wine farm in the region: Buitenverwachting translates to ‘beyond expectation’. As you enter you’ll see the iconic view: rows of vineyards leading your eye towards their old Dutch colonial thatch-roofed manor house - a reminder that this farm was part of Governor Simon van der Stel’s original Constantia farm.
Boasting a fine dining restaurant (Beyond), coffee shop (Coffee BloC), Take Away Deli, and a separate beautifully decorated indoor wine tasting space as well as an outdoor stoep overlooking their large lush green lawns and huge oak trees, it is a beautiful space to visit…with clear encouragement to linger longer. Buitenverwachting offers tastings at R100 per person for 5 wines.
A beautiful and welcoming venue
Location: 37 Klein Constantia Rd, Nova Constantia, Cape Town (around the corner from Klein Constantia)
Hours: Mon-Sat: 10h00-16h00 | Closed Sunday
Contact: 021 794 4095 | firstname.lastname@example.org | buitenverwachting.com | Facebook | Instagram
Right around the corner from Buitenverwachting is Klein Constantia, the home of the iconic Vin de Constance. The drive in is beautiful as you’re increasingly surrounded by vineyards as you get closer to the tasting room. You’ll notice a kramat on the property, one of 3 in the area - these are a snippet of the once diverse history of Constantia. Do take a moment to browse the wall-mounted historical installation as you enter the building - they are one of few wineries who acknowledge a truer reflection of the past.
The Bistro, their restaurant situated under the Jacaranda trees, focuses on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and celebrates a ‘farm to table’ and ‘head to toe’ menu. Klein Constantia offers 4 tasting options.
More than just Vin de Constance (the Sauv Blancs are stunning)
This winery is the odd one out as it doesn't tend to play with the rest of the wineries along the Constantia Wine Route. But, the wonderful woman who runs the tasting experiences, Sanneline, has made this our absolute favourite spot in Constantia. The wines are great, but Sanneline is the star! Head towards Groot Constantia and look out for a small sign midway to the entrance to Groot. You’ll stroll down a short driveway alongside a residential home, and walk into a humble looking equivalent of a converted garage. As you side step the pupitre, tanks and hoses, you’ll discover a small verandah overlooking a charming garden, dam and the Schoenstadt nunnery. There is some interesting history, as its origins can be traced to 1693 when it was part of the Dutch East India Company outpost and was known as Wittebomen, because of the silverleaf trees on the land.
Our absolute favourite space to visit, and our absolute favourite wine hostess!
Location: Groot Constantia Road, Constantia
Hours : Bottom Cellar Monday-Friday: 08h00-17h00 | Saturday: 10h00-14h30 | Closed on Sunday
Contact: 021 794 7171 / email@example.com | Highconstantia.co.za | Facebook | Instagram
This farm is an absolute must when visiting the Constantia Wine Route, as it is officially the oldest wine producing farm in the Cape. It is steeped in history and produces a range of wines. There are the two restaurants to enjoy: Simons and Jonkershuis (one of our favourites for casual coffees, al fresco breakfast and lunches under the oak trees, and cosy dinners). The Iziko Museum is well worth a visit to connect with the past. Their guided (or virtual auditory self-guided) cellar tour is surprisingly interactive with knowledgeable staff. Groot Constantia have three tasting venues with three tastings options.
It is one of few wine farms to allow visitors to freely explore the grounds and, as a major drop off point for the City Sightseeing bus, is an excellent chance for even the non-drinkers to delve into history and stretch your legs. Groot Constantia offer 3 tasting options.
Such a joy to stretch your legs and explore. The winemaker is a fave too!
Location: Groot Constantia Road (off Constantia Main Road), Constantia
Hours Monday-Sunday : Bottom Cellar : 09h00-17h00 (closes at 18h00) | Production Cellar and Top Cellar: 10h00 – 16h15 (closes at 17h00)
Contact: 021 794 5128 | firstname.lastname@example.org | grootconstantia.co.za | Facebook | Instagram
Eagle's Nest [no longer open for tastings]
This delightful winery is one of the newer kids on the Constantia block . It was a convenient stop along the City Sightseeing bus travelling from Cape Town CBD. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE TASTING ROOM AND DELI ARE NOW PERMANENTLY CLOSED. The wines are still available for purchase.
The winery's origins can be traced to 1836 when it was a refreshment station between Wynberg and Hout Bay, with travellers passing through Constantia Nek. All but the historic buildings were destroyed in a fire in 2000, allowing them to switch focus to producing wine, as well as re-establishing the natural fynbos on the farm. It was decided that its terroir is best suited to red wine production - predominantly Shiraz, Merlot and Viognier.
Sadly, now closed for tastings
Located just below Constantia Nek, this wine farm has the best views along the Constantia Wine Route, in our humble opinion! It is THE sunset spot. Do your best to secure a limited seat on the verandah, though there is plenty of seating in their outdoor sunny courtyard, indoor glasshouse, indoor bar area, or outdoor tables at the entrance. A private table is hidden near the entrance - this is a wonderful space to book if you have a larger group. But don’t discount the joy of ordering a bottle of wine, a superb snack platter or their famous flammkuchen (similar to pizza) and hanging out on the lush lawns in front of the building - truth be told, many of us end up on these lawns by the end of the afternoon. Constantia Glen offers 5 tasting options.
The service is always smart and professional
One of the youngest farms on the Constantia Wine Route, this farm has 11 hectares under vine (80% black and 20% white grapes). Situated adjacent and slightly above Constantia Glen, the views are spectacular - masterfully blending into the natural flora of the mountain. Chefs Warehouse offers award winning tapas meals, and platters are available with your tasting. Two outdoor tasting areas (an area with 2 to 3 tables, and a larger area with 10 tables) and the contemporary glass-encased indoor spaces on the top level ensure that you’ll be sipping with a view. Speaking of views, don’t forget to spend a penny in their ‘loo with a view’.
The way that that the architecture merges with its surroundings is masterful
Location: Constantia Main Road, Constantia
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 11h00-18h00 | Friday-Sunday: 11h00-19h00 | closed on major holidays
Contact: 021 794 8632 / email@example.com | beauconstantia.com | Facebook | Instagram
Tastings by appointment only: Silver Mist + Constantia Royale
Silvermist is currently the only organically certified wine estate in the Constantia Valley. Just over the top of Constantia Nek, the farm is within the Table Mountain National Park. They no longer offer walk in tastings (and require a minimum of 15 people for private tastings). The farm now features a Boutique Hotel. By far, the most popular reason (now) for visiting this estate is to dine at the award winning La Colombe restaurant - one of the top restaurants in the world. Tastings are by appointment only and require a minimum of 15 people. But the wines are readily available at wine stores throughout Constantia.
The only organically certified winery in Constantia!
Constantia Royale, part of Nova Zonnestraal farm, are the newest-oldest of the wine farms: the farm dates back to the 1700s when it was part of Alphen Estate, but only in 2002 were grapes planted. They focus on only Sauvignon Blanc: a Sauvignon Blanc with 15% Sémillon, as well as Don’s Reserve which is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. (with a touch of Sémillon in both wines). The farm grows approximately 1000 olive trees. Nova Zonnestraal also has one of the top showjumping equestrian yards in the Western Cape. Tastings are by appointment only on Mondays and Thursdays.
A truly unique tasting venue!
Honourable Mention: Wade Bales Wine Co
Look out for the monthly Saturday morning tastings at this cellar en route to Buitenverwachting and Klein Constantia. This negociant has also created a regional series made in collaboration with groups of winemakers from 4 regions. Each wine pays tribute to that region's signature style. Look out for the Constantia White (Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon), Breedekloof Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, and Swartland Syrah.
The regional blends are a must-try!
Constantia Village Supermarkets
Constantia Pick ‘n Pay supermarket’s dedicated Constantia shelf (inside the main store...avoid the tetchy security lady at the PnP Liquor Store in the Old Village) - if you’re running out of time, this wall of Constantia Wines should give you a sense of the most popular wines from all 10 wine farms on the Constantia Wine Route. Better yet, head to Spar Tops Constantia for amazingly friendly service...they're in the old Post Office in the Old Village and have been a fun alternative to posting letters! While you're at Constantia Village, pick up some snacks to keep you fuelled in between farms.