Steenberg – Stone Mountain or Mountain of Stone, (take your choice) – is the oldest wine farm in the Cape Peninsula. Situated in the suburb of Constantia, the original farm dates back to the days of Simon Van der Stel, whilst the current wine farm has been developed on that old farm site.
The land grant for the farm was initially allocated to a young woman Catharina Ustings Ras, by Governor Van der Stel. Catharina’s pioneering spirit had driven her to leave her native Germany and to set off on the long, challenging and indeed dangerous journey to the tip of Africa. In 1682 she settled on the farm which she poetically called ‘Swaanaweide’ – the feeding place of swans. Nevertheless, it was only in 1688 that Catharina was finally granted an official mandate which read in part – “ to cultivate, to plough, to sow and to possess the land’.
This young adventurer’s story has long fascinated historians. She was the very first woman to pioneer land ownership in South Africa. Fiercely independent and with no legal rights as a woman, Catharina’s individuality and indomitable spirit fanned much controversy in that conservative era. She did things her way even to the extent of marrying five times and giving birth to six children! Her pervasive spirit can still be felt in today’s Steenberg with its unique sense of place and style.
And visitors, whilst marvelling at this spectacular and beautiful old estate, may also enjoy its superb food and wines.