The Klein Constantia vineyard: location and surface area
Klein Constantia is a winery located in the Western Cape region of South Africa. The estate overlooks an exceptional vineyard on the foothills of the Constantiaberg, a famous mountain on the Cape Peninsula within the Table Mountain National Park.
What is the history of Klein Constantia? Starting in 1685
In 1685, Simon van der Stel, a senior official of the Dutch East India Company, acquired a large plot of land on which he planted many vines and built the estate of Groot Constantia, named after his wife Constance, in the Cape Dutch architectural style.
A swift international success
Thanks to their high-quality bottlings and the growing trade between South Africa and the Netherlands, the wines of the estate were served at the finest Dutch, Prussian and French dinner parties. In 1782, Louis XVI had more Klein Constantia white wines in his Versailles cellar than Burgundian white wines. Other illustrious figures celebrated these South Africa wines, such as the American politicians George Washington and John Adams, but also Charles Baudelaire and Napoleon Bonaparte, who had bottles of Klein Constantia's Vin de Constance delivered to his home every month during his exile on St Helena.
An upswing from 1980 onwards
Following the death of Simon van der Stel in 1712, the vineyards were split between many owners. In 1980, Douglas 'Duggie' Jooste, the former owner of Sedgwick's, a family-owned sherry company, acquired Klein Constantia. Advised by Professor Chris Orffer, the former head of the viticulture department at the University of Stellenbosch, Douglas Jooste began an in-depth study of the soils in order to enhance the nuances and identity of each terroir.
A new champagne from 2011
In 2011, the estate was acquired by an American banker of Czech origin, Zdenek Bakala and the British banker Charles Harman, vice-president of JPMorgan banks. With the support of two French shareholders, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, co-owner of Chateau Angelus (Saint-Emilion) and Bruno Prats, former owner of Chateau Cos d'Estournel, substantial work was carried out to restructure the vineyard in order to restore the estate to its former glory.
Find out more about the Klein Constantia estate in South Africa
Location and sun exposure
Partly biodynamic, this terroir comprises numerous grape varieties, namely Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Muscat de Frontignan, Petit Verdot, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
Geology: unique soils
The vineyards of the Klein Constantia estate lie on deep, age-old soils. These brown soils are partly composed of gravel, granite and saprolite (clayey rock).
Climate: cooling maritime influences
Poised between 35 and 400 metres above sea level, this terroir benefits from a constant sea breeze as well as a Mediterranean climate conferred by the influence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Mild, wet winters precede hot, dry summers.
The style of Klein Constantia wines
The profile of the wines
The reputation of Klein Constantia wines beams beyond borders. These bottlings are regarded as one of the finest expressions of South Africa's great terroirs, producing wines that harmoniously blend aromatic purity, complexity and finesse.
Klein Constantia's Vin de Constance, an emblematic sweet white wine
Vin de Constance is the fruit of a rigorous selection of Muscat de Frontignan, a small-grained white Muscat varietal, and is one of the finest sweet wines of the southern hemisphere.
This exceptional wine, made using a technique of passerillage (raisining) on the vines, seduces with its unique style which exudes a rare and refreshing aromatic palette. This technique is also used for the production of Tokaji Aszu wines and enables the grapes to attain an optimal concentration. Unique in its style, this sweet white wine, predominantly paired with desserts, also showcases a unique bottle design, which has been modernized by an Italian designer to resemble the original bottle shape.