Vin de Constance joins Bordeaux négociant market

Klein Constantia’s flagship sweet wine, Vin de Constance, has become the first South African wine to join the Bordeaux négociant market, with distribution by CVBG (Compagnie des Vins de Bordeaux et de la Gironde), Duclot Export and Maison Joanne.

The 2016 vintage of the historic wine – consumed by Napoleon Bonaparte and celebrated by writers including Jane Austen and Charles Dickens – will be available from the three négociants from 1 September this year.

The move is part of plans by Klein Constantia’s management team to raise the international profile of Vin de Constance, which was lauded as one of the world’s great wines in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was known as Constantia.

Production ceased with the outbreak of phylloxera in South Africa in the mid to late 1800s, but was revived in the 1980s when the Klein Constantia Estate on the Cape was redeveloped, with 1986 marking the first vintage of the ‘new’ Vin de Constance.

Hans Anstrom, managing director of Klein Constantia, said the new distribution of Vin de Constance in the Bordeaux marketplace would ‘further elevate its nobility’.

Klein Constantia forms part of the original Constantia estate granted to Cape commander Simon van der Stel in 1685.

Exiled French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have consumed up to one bottle of Constantia a day when on the island of St Helena, and the wine was immortalised by writers including Alexandre Dumas and Charles Baudelaire.