For Sabrina Majchrzak, a semester at Stellenbosch University was more than just an adventure, it was a life-changing experience that eventually led to the creation of an online wine shop, with the aim of sharing the joy and pleasure of South African wines in Germany.
During her time as an international student in South Africa in 2018, Sabrina fell in love with the country – the vibe, the cultural diversity, the community mindset, and the outdoor life – and after her return to the Bochum University of Applied Sciences in Germany, she encouraged as many people as possible to visit.
“Honestly, I never thought that a country or study experience could be so inspiring! I think my friends had a tough time with me, because all I could speak about was South Africa, Stellenbosch, South African wines, South African food, South African nature, South African people and how amazing and beautiful it is."
Back home, she wanted more of the South African vibe in her everyday life.
“Especially during COVID times, I wanted to bring the joyful, bright, and vibrant atmosphere to grey and cold Germany. That's when the idea for 'bottled. South African Wine & Soul' was born. After some research and based on my direct personal experience, I found that my beloved South African wines were really hard to get in Germany."
During a second visit to Stellenbosch at the beginning of 2023, Sabrina took a chance to pitch the idea of an online wine shop to some of her favourite wine estates, who were all very supportive and happy to cooperate. A few months later, she had a business licence and an online shop, which she launched in August 2023.
“With 'bottled. South African Wine & Soul', a dream came true – I sell my favourite SA wines, which are always hand selected with a personal story behind them, online in the German market. Because it is a side business only, I can put all my passion and love into it, without being financially reliant on the success, for now."
Some of the wineries featured on her website are: Lanzerac, Delheim, Durbanville Hills and Lievland.
“At the moment, I am doing a lot of wine tastings which is a brilliant way to connect with people, share my stories and experiences, increase awareness of SA wines, and build a customer base. We'll see where this journey will go, but at the moment I am just happy to bring a bit of my SA experience to more wine lovers here in Germany," says Sabrina, who works as User and Customer Experience Manager at the international headquarters of the highest-revenue supermarket discounter in Germany.
According to Sabrina, people are very curious about South Africa.
“I always share my personal experiences, which are 100% positive. However, the question about safety comes up quite often. I always explain that speaking for the Cape region, I never had a situation where I felt unsafe, and that Cape Town requires the same attention as any other big city. The people that I meet are very open-minded and I think for them it is a great opportunity to get information, especially in terms of tourism, first hand. My aim is to be transparent, inform, clear up prejudices and inspire, and secretly get everyone addicted to South Africa!"