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Vin de Constance

See under Constantia.

In 1685, the Dutch governor Simon van der Stel (1639-1712) acquired an approximately 750-hectare plot of land south-east 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). However, he was not the first, 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 specialised in fruit growing and especially viticulture.

Birth of sweet wine

He attached particular 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). A partly fortified sweet wine was produced from the white wine variety Muscat de Frontignan (in South Africa for Muscat Blanc), which gained a legendary reputation worldwide in a relatively short time and was supplied to many ruling houses in Europe. At the time, there were white, amber-coloured and red varieties.

The longevity of the wine is proven by a tasting by the British...

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Egon Mark

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Egon Mark
Diplom-Sommelier, Weinakademiker und Weinberater, Volders (Österreich)

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