The poetry of the earth is never dead.”

John Keats penned that. He was one of the most remarkable poets to ever live, and he only lived the ripe old age of 25. Then, On the first Saturday in May, of the same year, Napoleon also died. That was 1821. So much happened then, but was so different to today that it’s hard grapple with the history. It just seems so long ago.

Along with conquering lands, women named “Josephine”, and a love for having his portrait taken, Napoleon enjoyed wine, and one of his favourites was from a stormy little outpost at the bottom of continental Africa. He liked the wine so much that while in exile, he had 30 bottles delivered per month.

By then, the wine farm had been running for about 135 years, and one of their most famed wines was the Grand Constance, a blend of red and white Muscat de Frontignan. It’s Africa’s most historic wine.

And then a bottle was found from 1821, and put up for auction.

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Image from grootconstantia.co.za

It had to come home to Groot Constantia.
grand-constance-2 grand-constance-3After 195 years, this bottle is finally home. It’s a tangible connection with people that lived almost two centuries ago, and a reminder of not only the things that have happened in the interim, but also the things that have stayed the same. It’s wine. It’s a beautiful thing.

This 195 year old bottle of wine made us think of the past, but also of the future, and so they have sealed up bottles of Grand Constance (2009 vintage), to be opened in 2109, when the South African Wine industry has it’s 450th birthday. This will definitely be something special.
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