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Constantia

In 1685, the Dutch governor Simon van der Stel (1639-1712) acquired a plot of land of about 750 hectares southeast of Cape Town in today's South Africa. He named it "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, because three years earlier a winery was founded there, which still exists today under the name of Steenberg. Stel developed the property into a princely estate and was engaged in fruit growing and especially in viticulture. He attached great importance to hygiene. He experimented with different grape varieties like Palomino (which he called Fransdruif), Sémillon (which he called Wyndruif), Chenin Blanc (called Steen in South Africa) and Pontac(Teinturier du Cher). From the white variety Muscat de Frontignan (in South Africa for Muscat Blanc) a partly fortified sweet wine was produced, which gained a legendary reputation worldwide and was delivered to all ruling houses in Europe. At that time there were white, amber and red varieties.

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