Groot Constantia creates a space for local design to shine
SA's oldest wine farm is selling more than just wine; they've added homeware, scatter cushions and more to the mix
There's a growing movement towards supporting local designers and makers. This is happening in a new way now as large local businesses create platforms for smaller enterprises to gain audiences.
The longest-running wine estate in the country has taken this leap, adding to its visitor experience by creating a retail space within its tasting room, and selling products sourced from over 30 small local businesses.
“Groot Constantia is the oldest brand in SA and we are dedicated to supporting other amazing proudly South African brands,” says Lila Jutzen, marketing manager of Groot Constantia.
The shop is a delightful addition to the Cape Town farm. It is filled with homeware, kitchenware, fashion, accessories and edible treats — and, of course, the estate's prestigious wines.
Added to this are wine-related products such as glasses and decanters, and cooler bags by Hands of Hope, a project that trains and employs women who have emerged from the prison system.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused our economy to experience a dramatic downturn, so we are trying to support local entrepreneurs through this new store,” says Jutzen of the rationale.
“We encourage people to buy local products. The mementos and gifts support small businesses and local communities and form part our objective of reducing unemployment.”
Since it was established 336 years ago, Groot Constantia has played a consistent role in SA's unfolding history, appearing in poems and novels such as Sense and Sensibility. The farm's Grand Constance wine was Napoleon's tipple of choice during his years of exile on St Helena. These and other fascinating tales informed many of the products that were specially made for the shop.
“By commissioning South African designers to produce items that speak to this vibrant legacy, we have developed a range that contributes to the preservation of our culture and heritage, through creativity,” says Cathy O'Clery, creative director of Platform, the agency responsible for the store's design and product development.
These products include baskets by Design Afrika; ceramics from Mervyn Gers, Clementina van der Walt and Gemma Orkin; jewellery by Pichulik, Kioni, Skermunkil and Purely Porcelain; home textiles by African Jacquard and Skinny laMinx; Ngwenya Glass glassware; stylish dog leashes and collars from Chommies; chicken-bowl egg holders and decorative telephone-wire dogs by Tavengwa Dahwa, and so much more.
Bespoke designs, such as a dress by Helon Melon with a bee on the front, and cushions by Evolution, are exclusive to Groot Constantia. The bee has been used to reference Napoleon's emperor emblem, while the prints on the cushion covers are replica shapes of vine leaves found on the estate, with the fabric dyed in the evocative shades of wine.
Some products and packaging make use of artist Michael Chandler's illustrations of the Groot Constantia manor house, while the Constantia Garden range of body products and scented candles, by Zikhona Tefu of O'live, has been branded with an arrangement of flowers drawn by Chandler.
Towering over this retail environment is a floral cloud by Lush, covering a brass chandelier by Hoi P'loy — accentuating this spotlight on local design.
• Visit grootconstantia.co.za