Egonne Roth



Groot Constantia

Posted by Egonne Roth on October 10, 2017 at 3:50 AM

WhatsApp conversation on our family group:

Tamar: My club has a run and need helpers. Anyone ready to help?

Dishen: Yes, I will help!

Me: So will we!

We had just offered our services to help at the Grape Run that goes through the grounds of Groot Constantia Wine Estate without realising what it entailed. We had to report for duty at 6am as we were manning the first and last stations, which on this run were at the same place just inside the main gates. Tables had to be set up and water and coke unpacked.

Though the weather in Cape Town at this time of the year is mild, the early morning air was nippy and the breeze set us sniffling. We were armed with scarves and jackets and cameras and the beautiful setting offered photo opportunities from the moment we arrived. The white Cape Dutch buildings, the old oak trees with the vineyards and the tail-end of Table Mountain created constantly changing vistas as the sun rose

and the colours ranged from dark to soft pastel and gold, to spring green of the oak trees and vineyards set against bright blue skies.

As the first runners came sprinting past the tables hardly noticing the water we offered them, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of their movements – they were running at an average time of under 4 minutes per kilometre. Their eyes were fixed on the road ahead, their breathing even and their heals virtually touching their bums as they sped past – their goal was clear. The end line. No chatting, no breaks, no water. It was music in movement.

After a few minutes the other runners came more and more slowly, some simply grabbing water, swallowing and continuing; others stopping to enjoy a drink.

There was a father pushing his twins in their pram; older people determined to make it;

fun runners supporting causes; some in groups, others alone but everyone had a personal goal to be met. In between we had to deal with tractors and busses and cars that needed to use the same road as the runners and at one point a runner and a car nearly collided. We stepped up our vigilance and suddenly I found myself with a little red flag controlling traffic. While it was necessary and even fun, it is not where my future lies. It demands far too much concentration and patience – I will look at traffic cops very differently in future.


The last of the runners coming in were hardly past when the first runners were returning on their way to the finishing line – the same music, the same movement, the same concentration. It was a special experience to be able to participate and watch at such close quarters. Once again we just had time to put out papers cups with coke and water before the mass of runners came through.

One of the last women commented, “I run slowly so that I can see the beauty of creation.” That made sense.

And then it was all over and we were able to have breakfast in Jonkershuis restaurant before exploring the beauty of the grounds –

the grace of the architecture against the sky and the strong lines of the polished wooden doors and windows against white-washed walls, the strength of the oak trees overshadowed by the mountain.

The clivia were still blooming and

there were pincushions and

strelitzia adding to the intensity of the colour – so much beauty to enjoy and appreciate.

Art and stairs 


Of course one cannot visit a wine farm without doing some tasting and so we settled down on the sofa in the tasting locale and allowed the sommelier to guide us through a choice of wines.

We have all been to tastings before and heard all the jargon, but Victor made it personal and interesting in a manner that fascinated and held us captivated by what he was sharing. We asked him about himself: where he came from and what he did. He grew up in Diep Rivier, not all that far from Groot Constantia and when not working on the estate, he performs as a musician on cruise liners. He spoke with warmth of both his jobs and left us with much to think about. I enjoyed one of his saying in particular. We had been talking about previous tastings we had attended and how the guides often spoke well but somehow did not move one. Victor nodded sadly. “Too much art and no heart,” he said.

That certainly had not been our experience at Groot Constantia that day: art and heart had blended well and left us rich with memories.





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