The semi-sun dried Muscat d’Frontignan bunches to produce Grand Constance Groot Constantia were harvested at the beginning to middle of April, after a long ripening period to ensure that the sweet berries had adequate sunlight to produce the golden juice. Patience is a virtue when producing a wine with nectar so sweet. The grapes were fermented with selected yeasts on the skins for approximately one week and then pressed. After fermentation the wines were racked and transferred into barrels to mature for 24 months. The Grand Constance Groot Constantia cuvée is made from predominantly white Muscat with a small percentage of red Muscat, which imparts the distinctive amber colour.
The Muscat grapes are grown in a vineyard block right next to the famous Manor House, which is situated at 80 to 90 metres above sea level. The low yielding vines are planted on a south east facing slope. The climate is Mediterranean with cooling breezes from the Atlantic Ocean encouraging balance and complexity in the grapes. The average rainfall is approximately 1,100mm per annum. The vines are grown in Cartref, Longlands and Kroonstad soils.
Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest estate and one of South Africa’s most visited tourist attractions. In 1685 Cape Governor Simon van der Stel built a farm in the foothills of Table Mountain, which he named Constantia. The winery received world acclaim from Napoleon, Bismarck and King Louis Philippe of France who was the biggest single buyer of Groot Constantia wines. They had to sell to the Cape government after phylloxera ravaged the vineyards. Now, the total estate covers 165 hectares of which 87 hectares are planted, at an altitude of 60 to 280 metres above sea level. The climate is generally cool resulting in complex and balanced wines.