The 146 hectare Klein Constantia estate is located on the eastern slopes and foothills of the Constantiaberg. It originally formed part of the original Constantia Estate established in 1685 by the first Governor of the Cape, Simon Van Der Stel. His farm was divided on his death in 1712, and the original Klein Constantia was created. It was later divided again into two.
The famous sweet Constantia wine became a favourite among European nobility including Prussian Emperor Frederick the Great and French King and Queen, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Much later. Napoleon Bonaparte enjoyed up to a bottle of ‘vin de Constance’ daily while in exile on St Helena and reportedly requested a glass on his deathbed. In Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, Mrs Jennings recommends a little Constantia ‘for its healing powers on a disappointed heart’ as well as for colicky gout. It is also referred to in the works of other famous writers such as Alexandre Dumas and Charles Baudelaire and Charles Dickens.
The estate experienced many subsequent ups and downs in subsequent years until, in 1980, Duggie Jooste bought the estate and decided to restore it to its former winemaking glory In 1990 the first new Vin de Constance was released following what was believed to be the old ‘recipe’.
Klein Constantia was bought by businessmen Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman in 2011 who appointed Hans Astrom as Managing Director (later shareholder). In 2012 Bordeaux wine personalities Bruno Prats and Hubert de Boüard merged their Stellenbosch based farm Anwilka with Klein Constantia and also became shareholders. At a state banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 Vin de Constance was served with dessert. It has continued to win accolades and awards.
In 2011 Klein Constantia was recognized as a WWF Conservation Champion due to its efforts in boosting diversity, managing soil erosion, protecting against fire, harnessing solar energy, reducing herbicide use and introducing an integrated pest management programme.