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 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…