On this day in 1974, the Cape Times reported that the fate of the 300-year-old Constantia Valley was sealed in 105 minutes at a special meeting of the Divisional Council of the Cape. “The upper reaches of the historic valley, which once produced the Cape’s most celebrated wines, will now become the setting for cluster housing projects.”
In particular, the newspaper reported that Mr IA Austin, managing director of Klein Constantia Farms and part owner of Klein Constantia, rejected any proposal seeking to perpetuate farming in Constantia as economically unsound and undesirable due to a lack of skilled and unskilled agricultural labour, a shortage of water and the fact that the soil was poor.
Austin said the vines yielded poor fruit and indifferent wine, adding: “No wineries are known to break their backs to acquire the Constantia vintage.”
How things have changed in just a few decades!