South Africa’s oldest wine estate Groot Constantia is well aware of its role as guardian of the architectural and cultural legacy of more than 300 years. Wine has been produced on the estate without interruption since 1685. In fact, Groot Constantia bottles, bottle shards and bottle seals dating from as far back as 1774 have been found in far corners of the world. The Groot Constantia Trust is equally conscious that the estate is also a custodian of nature, and with the help of the City of Cape Town and SANBI, clear away all alien plant species and replace them with indigenous plants. On Arbor Day in 2013, Groot Constantia planted trees in honour of their longest serving staff members as a living tribute.
Groot Constantia has a big heart for people who work on the farm. Members of staff live on the estate at no cost and receive water and electricity for free. Soon, staff will also have access to a registered doctor on site. Investing in young people to empower them to shape their own future and build skills they can employ in opportunities wherever they arise is a big part of the farm’s social responsibility. The youngest ones attend an on-site crèche, whilst older children are transported to school and after-school activities, assisted with homework and treated to educational day trips.
The farm is also involved in the community beyond its fences, raising funds to upgrade the technology room at Constantia Primary School, annually contributing to a teacher’s salary at Constantia Primary School and funding the Groot Constantia athletics club and other wellness activities.
As a member of the Biodiversity in Wine Initiative, Groot Constantia is committed to protecting its remaining highly threatened natural areas and adopting better farming practices to ensure functioning, healthy natural systems. Although the area of natural habitat under the estate’s control is very small, Groot Constantia acknowledges the fact that the farm’s vineyards and river streams is a valuable habitat to different creatures that are living in the Table Mountain National Park. Every effort is made not to disturb this habitat and to allow it to play a role as an important buffer zone for the Table Mountain National Park. Links, porcupine and fish eagle sightings on the Estate, to name but a few, are proof that this role is successfully fulfilled.