About Paserene

Paserene is a small, family operated winery in Franschhoek, owned by Martin Smith and Ndabe Mareda, the sole purpose of which is to produce high-end, luxury wines. Great care was given to ensure that the wines produced, and artwork on the labels, are truly authentic to its “sense of place and people” and will guarantee a lasting legacy.

When you sip on a glass of Paserene’s boutique wine, you are creating an unforgettable moment in time – one to be remembered with each mouthful.

The name Paserene comes from the Latin word Passeriformes, the order of “traveling and free” birds containing swifts and swallows. Paserene Winery is situated in the quaint town of Franschhoek and is home to their award-winning wine range. A professional and contemporary tasting lounge is situated on the wine estate, ideal for a day of opulent wine tasting in Franschhoek or to sit and sip away the afternoon as you enjoy our stunning manicured garden.

the people

Martin Smith

Born in the small town of Ashton, Martin is a third generation wine-maker, whose passion was ignited through the influence of his father and grandfather. Soon after birth, Martin’s family moved to Worcester where his father started a wine bottling plant. He describes his upbringing as “innocent”, where he and his siblings spent days riding horses and biking, while sitting around the kitchen table in the evenings listening to stories of wine-making. It was then, at the early age of 13 that Martin knew he wanted to make wine.

His first experience in the wine industry began during school when he spent a week at Nuy Winery. After high school – and an educational jaunt in Portugal at Amorim Cork – Martin studied viticulture and winemaking at Elsenburg Agricultural College, near Stellenbosch. This was swiftly followed by a practical stint at Vriesenhof Vineyards. Spreading his wings, Martin spent five years at Cosentino Winery in California’s Napa Valley. Then, in 2006, his journey took him to Caldwell Winery, where he worked with many high-profile winemakers, such as Tim Mondavi and Phillipe Melka. Another five years rolled past and Smith had to make a decision about whether to stay in the United States or come back to South Africa. He was then offered a job as wine-maker at Vilafonte, which after six years, he describes as his final step towards starting Paserene.

For all his intensity, Martin is also laid back – that’s the surfer in him – with quick jokes and genuine warmth that makes him easy to talk to.

the people

The Paserene Partnership

Martin fondly describes the partnership as one of strength, likening it to an army of ants, that prove working together only makes for a stronger, more creative business.

Ndabe Mareda is passionate about South African wines, and after learning of Martin’s philosophy and intention of starting a new wine brand proposed a partnership to produce world-class wines with creativity and passion.

And so started the journey of Paserene…



Paserene is first and foremost about unification – which is clear in the wines, labels, architecture and what is evidently a close friendship between business partners Martin Smith and Ndabe Mareda.

“I would consider myself a precision winemaker. A good balance between being technical and being intuitive. I tinker with my wines…a lot. I will ponder if I want to take a certain action for weeks on end. I like wines with weight, wines with a lot of colour and tannin, but they need to have balance. I record everything, nothing is wasted and nothing is taken for granted. That is the key. I have tasted wines with 100% new oak and a 15,5 % alcohol that is in complete harmony”.

“I love tasting older wines, I wonder about the hands that make that wine, where are they now, are they still alive? Did it rain a lot that year, was it warm. What cars people drove then? The politics, what were their fears, aspirations were there still a lot of fish in the oceans; was life easier then? Truly old wines from the 1920’s and 1940’s, is like a time capsule, a liquid photograph. I hope people can taste my wines when I am no longer here”.

the people

The Art Work

The artwork for the Paserene labels is something of elegance and beauty. The art extends to writing and music and on the back of each bottle are three words that sum up the wine inside.

The story behind the swallow is a true testament to Martin’s adventures abroad and the need to spread his wings, all the while having a yearning to return home to create his nest – Paserene. The woman symbolises how he views his wines. Martin has always felt that his wines, especially those produced in Tulbagh are feminine in style because of their likeness to the areas’ beauty and fragility.

“I worked with Lorraine Loots, Carmen Ziervogel and Lauren Ann McCarthy.Besides probably being the most attractive creative team in Cape Town, they are also the most gifted. They are a gifted team of creatives. The swallow on the Marathon was created by Lorraine to commemorate my time in the States and travelling between South Africa and there.”

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