What a treat it was to attend the opening of Paserene Wine farm situated on the R45 in Franschhoek. The tasting room is an architectural dream, with views overlooking a small lake and towering mountains – especially at sunset.
This small, family operated winery owned by Martin Smith (winemaker) and Ndabe Mareda (business partner), is positioned as a high-end, boutique wine brand.
There are three cultivars available for tasting:
- Paserene Chardonnay (W.O Elgin),
- Paserene Marathon, a Bordeaux-style red
- Paserene Union, a Rhône-inspired red blend.
Since their first vintage in 2013, these wines have only grown in esteem with their slightly wooded Chardonnay 2015 receiving a 5-Star rating in Platter’s Wine Guide 2018. I can definitely confirm that it tastes amazing!
The name, Paserene, comes from the Latin word Passeriformes – translating into free birds like swifts and swallows. With this as inspiration, the new facilities reflect this ‘flight of the swallow’. Conceptualised and designed by SCS Architects, Etienne Stols, Principle Architect said:
“The building was designed to complement the current landscape and not to be in competition but in harmony with its surroundings by creating an architectural language of hoes materials and soft organic forms.”
“It was important that this home reflected the authenticity of the brand, and that it was true to the wine labels’ artistic expression which captures the story of my travels as a flying winemaker, and the wines’ sense of place,” Martin Smith, winemaker, added.
The result is a contemporary, but classically understated building resembling a martin’s nest: light wooden cladding is used to create a modern-style ‘crypto-porticus’, offset against rough slate accents, resembling the mud and clay swallows use to build their nests. Glass stack doors allow for the whole building to become an open structure, transforming the beautiful exterior into a natural extension of the interior. The facilities overlook a small dam, a clever nod towards the swallow’s habit of swooping over water.
Paserene’s wine labels – created by Lorraine Loots, Carmen Ziervogel, and Lauren Ann McCarthy – will enjoy an authentic space from where to take flight. The swallow on the Marathon was created by Lorraine to commemorate Smith’s time in in the United States, and his traveling between South Africa and there. The colours used refer to the warmth and energy of the wine.
The new Paserene tasting room is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00
Contact: 021 8762714
About the owners:
Martin Smith is an established winemaker who has worked numerous vintages locally and in the United States, and he has a reputation for making wines that are well-structured and refined – without lacking the expressive qualities associated with South Africa’s wines.
Mareda, a businessman from Johannesburg with an appreciation for quality wines, immediately recognised the potential for Paserene to become one of South Africa’s top luxury wines – a complementary drive which solidified the Paserene partnership. “With this in place, in was time to find Paserene a home,” said Mareda.