Merecia Smith, a former Spier Wine Farm general worker, has launched SA’s first black-owned wine analysis laboratory.
Wine analysis is the process of running wine samples through the lab, testing and adding ingredients, and working on the wine press to extract the juice from grapes.
Smith started working with Spier in 1998 as a general worker and later grew to become wine lab analyst.
Initially, Smith was worried about leaving the comfort of profitable employment to the uncertainty of starting her own business.
“Initially I found the idea of leaving full-time employment to launch my own business rather intimidating. But I felt reassured by the support Spier was willing to offer me to help get my business off the ground,” Smith said.
Shortly, after the business started Smith now has her former employers and five other wine cellars companies as her client.
Like any other business, the businesswoman said that speed, accuracy, reliability, trustworthiness and honesty are the main qualities required to run a successful wine analysis laboratory.
Smith’s lab participates in SA Wine Lab Association-facilitated monthly analyses where she evaluates two unknown samples. The results are then checked by industry peers.
“Having this external evaluation of the quality of our services is important – it gives us credibility and shows that we are doing a good job,” Smith said.
A person who makes wine lab analysis a career is called wine technician.