Monday, October 21, 2013


I recently had the absolute pleasure of tagging along on The Constantia Wine Tour. Yes I know people... I know important and influential people. People who get asked to do exclusive wine tasting tours in world renowned wine country. Then people look at me with jaundiced exasperation when I swallow instead of spit. I have theories on that...
Anyway, as with most things, I am no expert or aficionado, although I do try and bluff my way through personal wine tours when I take foreign visitors for a nice day out. And although I have a modest collection of outrageously expensive wines at home - they are more to impress than to enjoy.
So, it started off with myself and my far more illustrious adventuring partner being picked by our delightfully engaging tour guide and host, Blake. The man is a veritable fountain of knowledge and you are regaled with interesting anecdotes and historical facts throughout a thoroughly enjoyable day. We started off having coffee on the Steenberg Golf Estate, being afforded a glimpse of how the other half live. Thereafter, we were taken (in some luxury, I might add) to Groot Constantia, where we were given the full tour of the old farm house museum, coach house, and even the old disused cellar featuring an escape tunnel! Those guys definitely lived some exciting lives!

Our first "tasting" stop was at a small farm I have never heard of. In fact we went to a few farms that I'd otherwise never have found, oblivion being the language most spoken on our planet. The small farms are amazing! Far less "corporate" or "tourist orientated", you get a quite personal experience. The first of these was High Constantia, a small property just off Groot Constantia that boasts the best Methode Cap Classique in the country (and therefore, I assume, the world). Anyway, with my loyalties already firmly super glued to Steenberg and Simonsig with regard MCC, them were fightin' words, especially since the High Constantia MCC doesn't contain sulphites. I was very soon to be ingesting large slices of humble pie along with a simply incredible MCC. Bit pricey, but so worth it.

Having almost learned to bow to clearly more knowledgeable types, I was still going on about my own tastes, when the tour bus pulled in at Klein Constantia. We were treated to another very interesting and educational history of the wines and the region, including a tour of the facilities and an explanation of the wine making process, from beginning to end. Then my favourite part, more tasting. My fellow scribe and party partner was jumping up and down and about to faint in anticipation of the legendary Vin De Something-or-other apparently favoured by Napoleon. I definitely preferred their red selection.

Having worked up a rather pressing appetite, we were treated to a wonderful lunch at Constantia Glen, taking in seamless, spectacular views of the valley adjacent to the Constantianek Road and all the way across to Gordons Bay. The cold meat and cheese platters perfectly complimented yet another range of stunning wines, and we left fully satisfied, if a little more hazy...

Ending the tour off at one of my all time favourite exclusive little boutique wine farms - the charming Eagle's Nest - was a master stroke. The wines are to die for and the setting could not be more secluded or perfectly pristine. On top of their world-beating Shiraz, we were treated to a Land Rover tour of their entire vineyard, most of which is precariously perched on steep inclines and hard to reach hills. The views are also nothing short of sensational - the perfect end to an awesome day.

Well, not the end end. But I can't tell you what I got up to afterwards, if this has any chance of getting published!

All in all, one of the best experiences and a flat-out fantastic idea, speaking as someone who has had the dubious honour of having to drive his mates around from wine farm to wine farm, quaffing the Gods' nectar with scant regard for the consequences.

Thank you The Constantia Wine Tour.
Thanks you Blake!

If you'd like to know any more, please feel free to find them here:

Or contact them directly:

Central bookings: +27 (0)21 794 4873
Email booking:

Blake Gower: +27 (0)82 377 5233 /
Sean Wilyman: +27 (0)83 268 1204 /

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