History forever at Klein Constantia

As we continue to celebrate our new partnership with wine travel specialists Winerist, we look back at our presenters visiting just a few of the many wonderful places Winerist offers tours to.

This week, Joe Fattorini channels his inner Napoleon exploring the history of Klein Constantia, a beautiful South African winery.


Joe Fattorini

What was it like to be Napoleon? I mean I’m short, ambitious and I’ve been disappointed in Belgium. But what was his life like day-to-day? We know what life tasted like when Napoleon had his pudding. How? Because of Vin de Constance.

At 5.00am at Klein Constantia, grape picking is in full swing. And here it really is ‘grape’ picking. Grape by shrivelled grape. Each day the pickers go to collect newly wrinkled fruit. Each grape picked only when it’s packed with unctuous, luscious juice. It’s just as they would have done in the eighteenth century. Quiet work. But not silent. The pickers chat in Afrikaans, with modern headlamps winking in the darkness. As dawn approaches, more noises join in. Birds at first, then waking baboons calling each other in the trees.

Vin de Constance wasn’t prized only because it was delicious. With all that sweetness and marmalade acidity it also travelled well. To Dickens and Austen in Britain. To Napoleon on St Helena. It also means Vin de Constance lives a long time. There’s something special about drinking a wine like the one people enjoyed in the eighteenth century. It’s something else to try the wine people actually enjoyed in the eighteenth century. I taste a 1791. The year Mozart died. The year the first American ship reached Japan. The year the Brandenburg Gate was finished. It still tastes delicious. I still don’t know what it was like being Napoleon. But it tasted good.


Klein Constantia Vin De Constance 2011

Taste this wine and you taste the past. Enjoy the honeyed sweetness and orange-marmalade tang. They are the same flavours that captivated Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Napoleon. The heady, complex sweet and spice aromas tell you this is one of the great wines of the world.

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The Wine Show has partnered with specialist wine and food travel company Winerist to provide experiences in many of the countries we’ve featured on screen. Together we are offering unique wine tastings, holidays and tours that we are sure will thrill and exhilarate you. Book now to experience the unforgettable.