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In 1685, the Dutch governor Simon van der Stel (1639-1712) acquired an approximately 750-hectare plot of land southeast of Cape Town in what is now South Africa, which he named "Constantia" (perseverance) after the virtue he valued (not after his wife - as one often reads - because her name was Johanna). He was not the first, however, as a vineyard had already been founded there three years earlier, which still exists today under the name Steenberg. Stel developed the property into a princely estate and was involved in fruit-growing and especially viticulture. He attached great importance to hygiene. He experimented with different grape varieties such as Palomino (which he called Fransdruif), Sémillon (which he called Wyndruif), Chenin Blanc (called Steen in South Africa) and Pontac (Teinturier du Cher). The white variety Muscat de Frontignan (in South Africa for Muscat Blanc) was used to produce a sweet wine, some of it fortified, which gained legendary fame worldwide and was supplied to all the ruling houses in Europe. At the time, there were white, amber and red varieties.

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Sigi Hiss
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