Constantia is the oldest wine growing region in South Africa with the cultivation of grapes dating from the 1680s. The region is however also one of the most innovative. Somehow the very name ‘’Constantia’’ evokes quality and elegance and it is out of this old region that new things spring.

The challenge and joy of being in wine tourism in South Africa is the dynamism of the industry and the incredible quality and variety of product offerings. I am happy to share two new fantastic and varied Constantia experiences:

New Wine Tunnel at Nova Zonnestraal

I was recently invited to the launch of The Wine Tunnel at Nova Zonnestraal, the property owned by the Rowand family in the heart of Constantia which was divided by the M3 in the 1960s.

Unique wine cellar under the M3

Few people know that there is a tunnel built under the highway to link the two properties.  This has now been turned into a unique wine cellar and is home to Constantia Royale.

The 16 hectare property boasts olive groves, vineyards and stables as the Rowand family are a great horse-riding and loving family– the logo on the Sauvignon Blanc has a horse-shoe on the bottle.

The 2018 Vintage Sauvignon Blanc has just been released and was a finalist in the First National Bank’s top 20 Sauvignon Blanc competition. Their 2016 vintage received 4 and a half stars in the Platter Guide. Winemaker Roger Burton can be very proud of this delicious, quaffable and fresh expression of what makes Constantia wines world famous. This is definitely my summer go-to wine!

The winery can be visited by appointment only and the wines are available to purchase off the farm. Nova Zonnestraal, Vineyard Avenue, Constantia. Tel (01) 794 4841

Incognito bar at The Alphen Hotel

Bar at Incognito

The old Rose Bar at the Alphen Hotel was looking rather tired and has had a complete make-over having been turned into Incognito – what a cool name! It is really trendy and stylish with a great Italian – inspired bar menu. Think Bruschette, Pizzette, and Arancini, Bresaola plus a well-stocked bar with a great wine list. There are plans for live music, private function hire – all in an uber-cool setting. Old and new was never more stylish. Trust the Kove Collection to get it right and bring a little bit of Camps Bay to Constantia.

At a recent opening I was struck by the great customer service experience, the ambiance – the music was just right both in terms of the loudness and choice – they have a DJ coming in to get this right. Old black and white movies are playing on the screen and yes you can pop in to watch the rugby on a Saturday afternoon and then stay on for some cool jazz over delicious sacks. I am still dreaming about the piping hot Arancini with the gooey cheese, not to mention the stuffed olives and white bait with lemon. This is a bar for locals and also hotel residents who will be thrilled to discover that they are in the heart of cool and trendy. It’s the kind of new discovery one can’t wait to share with friends and plan another rendez-vous, whilst secretly wanting to keep this hidden gem to yourself. But the secret is out so you will have to go in disguise or Incognito!

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