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An intern in Kenya

Please enter the door to enjoy hospitable guidance through my internship time at Under The Influence in Kenya. Before I open the door, let me give you a small introduction.

My long aim to travel to South Africa and my passion about wine brought me to South Africa – the New World of wines. South Africa has a remarkable talent in combining science, art, and intervention when it comes to winemaking. Luckily, I was able to experience it firsthand when assisting this year’s harvest at Vondeling Wines – eight weeks of de-stemming, crushing, pressing, fermenting, and cleaning – an experience I recommend to everyone who is into wine. At Vondeling Wines I met the lovely South African team of Under the Influence (UTI). The business concept, the values and the team’s spirit caught my interest. Having finished the harvest, I started my internship at UTI. Surprisingly and wonderfully, the opportunity had arisen that I travelled to Kenya to experience the daily business at UTI East Africa in Nairobi – let me open the door for you now.

Arrived in Nairobi, the intrepid company driver, Robinson, picked me up at the airport. He is a loyal member of the team, and I absorbed his knowledge about the Kenyan culture including local dishes. Amongst others, he inspired me to try sweet potato for breakfast – I love it. The first day in the Kenyan Office was a jump into the cold water, a worthwhile jump though. The team, consisting of Diane, Jane, Ali, James, John, Humphrey, and Victor, was very welcoming and my activities were aimed at fulfilling the tasks assigned to me by Diane and Jane. I gained valuable insights into the organisation with regards to wine tasting events in the warehouse and external locations, wine trainings at the Giraffe Manor and SOPA Lodge, customer relationship building approaches, and wine list negotiation with a client.

The warehouse has great facilities to host an authentic wine tasting. On my first day, Mont Rochelle presented their wines. In addition, I got the opportunity to assist a wine training which was done in co-operation with Wines of South Africa (WOSA). The trainings have shown me again that education is a great asset to empower individuals and strengthens their confidence regarding recommending, serving, and selling wine. Throughout all the job-related activities, I was impressed by how naturally yet professional customer relationships are build – something I was not familiar with. When not being in the office, Jane took me out, either business related or privately. Her and Diane’s effort created an unforgettable time. Within the four weeks, I was able to explore many aspects about the Kenyan culture, which enriched my understanding about ways of working, communication and enjoyment of life. Before I close the door – when not writing wine lists or accomplishing other of the above-mentioned learnings, the team taught me their home language. With this in mind:

ASANTE for this amazing experience!


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