Five Reasons Why Constantia is Love Island

The Constantia Wine Route plays host to sumptuous views, food, wine and travel experiences even when a British reality show is not being filmed along its mountain slopes.

In 2019, British media houses declared ‘move over Majorca’ as British reality show, Love Island prepared to begin filming in Cape Town.

The Midden Cottage, located near Eagles Nest, plays host to the first season of Love Island that was filmed in South Africa, season six. Love Island is filmed over a racy season that sees contestants (known as Islanders) battle to stay in a couple in order to win.

Eagles Nest, part of the Constantia Route, is located near The Midden in Constantia. The Midden cottage was transformed specifically to film Love Island in a construction process that reportedly took about two months. While the Love Island antics might make for gripping reality television, the shows arrival has revived Constantia’s unique ability to channel love and romance. Who wouldn’t fall in love with views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean? Nestled in the winelands, The Midden Cottage was listed at over R80 million, while The Midden House (mansion, but semantics) was listed at R115 million. The architectural marvel, designed by Metropolis, is available for sale at R200 million. It seems difficult to put a price on love, however, the Constantia Wine Route is a priceless destination.

You cannot put a price on love, but a three-story villa located thirty minutes from Cape Town reignites the reality that in Constantia, love is always in the air.

Elunda Basson, Cellar Master at Steenberg describes the ‘air’ in Constantia as cool. According to Elunda, Constantia enjoys a cool Mediterranean climate. She elaborates, “the South Easterly summer wind, together with our shaded slopes against the mountain is our biggest contributor to the Steenberg climate.”

Even without cameras and soft-lighting, the Constantia Wine Route has a firm lens on love. A gourmand’s paradise, with some of history’s favourite wine and unique travel experiences, Constantia has always been prime real estate for love.

  1. World Class Wine

In 1685, Simon van der Stel, the then Governor of The Cape established Constantia. The land was used to farm cattle, vegetables and wine. Subsequent to Van der Stel’s death, in 1712, the land was divided and sold in three parts – as Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia and Bergvliet. The Cloete family purchased Groot Constantia in 1779. Through efforts like planting vineyards extensively, and building a cellar in 1791, helped to build global wine history. The Grand Constance that was produced at Groot Constantia was appreciated by historical figures, like Napoleon who ordered thirty bottles a month while exiled at St Helena Island. Phylloxera virus caused production of Grand Constance to cease towards the end of  the 19th century.

However, history lives on in the form of Vin de Constance at Klein Constantia. Vin de Constance was reintroduced in 1986. Vin de Constance was the first South African wine to be awarded a spot of Wine Spectator’s prestigious Top 10 List in 2015. The 1986 vintage of the wine was set at a reserve price of R30 000-R40 000 at the inaugural Wine Cellar Fine Wine Auction at Strauss & Co. in 2019.

  1. World Class Winemakers

The Constantia Wine Route is comprised of a group of successful wine farms with internationally respected wines. The route is comprised of eight farms, one of which, Steenberg Vineyards, received a respected winemaker as part of its experienced viticulture and cellar team in 2019. Elunda Basson joined Steenberg as Cellar Master in June 2019, at the apex of a prosperous career that has spanned two decades.

Prior to joining Steenberg, Elunda has made still and sparkling wines for some of South Africa’s most respected wine brands. Elunda says, “I would like to think I’ve left my mark on the Cap Classiques that were produced by Pongracz and the House of JC Le Roux over the last decade. The company allowed me space to grow and develop my love for bottle-fermented sparkling wines and add my own personal touch to the style of our flagship wines.”

Elunda is the vice-chairperson of the South African Cap Classic Association and her wines continue to garner critical acclaim. In 2018, Elunda was awarded the Vertex award at The Veritas Awards for her Blanc de Blancs, an award that gave her wine the distinction of being the overall champion. Alongside this award, her prior acclaim includes World’s Best Shiraz trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) and being included in the Top 10 Sparkling Wines of the World at the Effervescent du Monde.

  1. Signature Experiences

In 2019, La Colombe Restaurant in Constantia was awarded Best Restaurant of The Year at the Eat Out Awards. Alongside the title of South Africa’s Best Restaurant, Joseph Dhafana, head Sommelier at La Colombe was awarded the 2019 wine service award.

Constantia is renowned for its spectacular food and wine experiences, by both local travelers as well as international visitors for several reasons. Steenberg’s two restaurants are helmed by Chef Kerry Kilpin.

Elunda Basson, Cellar Master at Steenberg says, “Steenberg Farm is one of the jewels of the Constantia wine valley with world class wines, restaurants and boutique accommodation experiences. Situated just 30 minutes from the Cape Town city center, it’s a perfect winelands destination. With two restaurants, the relaxed Bistro Sixteen82 or the new signature restaurant, Tryn, Steenberg has something for all tastes. You can come for a full experience on the farm and discover the many aspects of Steenberg.

  1. Classic Cap Classique

Under the leadership of John Loubser and JD Pretorious, the Steenberg cellar has provided some scintillating wine memories, in recent history. Steenberg Chardonnay Brut MCC has become a yellow beacon of hope, while the Pinot Noir MCC rises to the top of many lists of elegant, pink bubbly. The Steenberg Nebbiolo was lauded for innovation and pioneering prowess, while the Steenberg Magna Carta continues to receive critical appreciation. Both the sparkling and still wines at Steenberg have created a lasting legacy.

The 2020 Harvest will be Elunda’s first vintage as Cellar Master at Steenberg. She says that the earliest releases will likely be the Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, and the Rose and Sauvignon Blanc from the still range. Elunda says, “your wines become like your children with new ones being born every harvest season. The wine we make bears our artistic expression, and becomes very personal and dear to us.”

“Steenberg offers the full spectrum of wine styles and it’s a fantastic challenge for me to get back into premium still whites and reds, but continue my love for Cap Classique as well,” she says.

The adjustment to Constantia has been ‘massive’ for Elunda, however she has adapted well to the significant professional and personal move, as well as to the change in climatic conditions to a new geographical region.

However, making superlative Cap Classiques will continue to be a labour of love for Elunda.

“The art of blending a base wine early in its life and then being able to anticipate the end product’s quality sometimes happens years in advance. This takes skill and understanding of what you want to achieve at the end, and almost working back from there to the building blocks you have in the beginning,” Elunda says.

  1. A Valley of Views

The hills are alive in Constantia. Many a tourist has succumbed to the beauty of the emerald green vineyards, and the depth of the beauty from Constantia Glen’s saddle, or the elevated excellence from Beau Constantia.

“This valley has so much to offer!” Elunda confirms. “From zip-lining, to adventure sports, a leisurely round of golf or a visit to the spa.”

Among Elunda’s suggestions for visitors to take in Constantia’s views, are a visit to the beach, an educational wine tasting experience followed by lunch at one of Constantia’s world-renowned restaurants. Elunda says, “from mountain hikes, Kirstenbosch Botanical garden, picnics and horse riding on the beach, to a visit to an art gallery, to arts and crafts – we’ve got it all!”

Constantia Wine Classics

Before you visit the Constantia Wine Route, taste some of Elunda Basson’s favourite Constantia wine:

  • Groot Constantia Governor’s Reserve
  • Buitenverwachting Hussey’s Vlei Sauvignon Blanc
  • Eagle’s Nest Viognier


Tshepang Molisana