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Winemaker Kishan Pedhapally talks about his professional journey

Kishan Pedhapally

Kishan Pedhapally  

He made every experience count: Winemaker Kishan Pedhapally looks back at his journey with joy

Kishan Pedhapally who launched his Asav wines was once known to all hoteliers and those in the F&B business as Sula Kishan because of his constant engagement with the (Sula) brand. Incidentally, he was also instrumental in bringing license fee of ₹2 lakh down to ₹10,000 per label. It involved many years of innumerable visits and meetings with business heads of restaurants, policy makers and decision takers to be where he is. He may be a wine person, but he begins his morning by greeting his friends and business associates with a ‘drink responsibly’ message. “I never cross the limit of two glasses of wine when I am out partying. I totally believe in enjoying the drink,” shares Kishan.

Kishan could be dealing with his own brand of wine at present but he didn’t have a rosy start. He recollects his humble beginning with a smile, never wanting to hide or forget it. “Since I come from a middle-class family, I knew I would have to struggle if I want to make something out of myself; something more than bringing home a salary. I started modelling during my college days to earn pocket money and get some visibility. I won’t say that made me successful, but it definitely helped me step out and face the world,” he says.

That was when he and his friends heard of job opening at erstwhile Bhaskara Palace; they jumped right in. “We joined as stewards in the hotel. My friends called it quits within a week. I didn’t want to forego a week’s salary after hard work, so I continued to complete the month. I felt it would be unprofessional to quit midway; if I quit it would also make me give up on my first job. Completing a month was a challenge which I took up,” recollects Kishan.

With that month’s salary in his pocket, Kishan was determined to become a mechanic.

Since he didn’t know what could be a good career option, he wanted to try things that he knew he could handle. “The garage people made me wash cars as an internship,” he laughs. So Kishan washed cars and didn’t really get to fix any automobile. Then he read about job openings. “It was during this time that the liquor prohibition was lifted. Smirnoff was entering the state (then Andhra Pradesh). The job call was for a sales executive. As I entered the room at Minerva with my friends, all we could see were experienced people. At about 2pm my friends insisted that we leave, they said we couldn’t have much hope against the experienced candidates. I waited till I was called in for a chat at 10pm. They spoke to me and asked me to come again the following day, this continued for a week. Finally I was offered a job and I did my best to prove what I promised,” recollects Kishan.

As a businessman, Kishan says if you are ashamed of doing anything that is required to make the brand visible, then you will find it hard to succeed. After a few years with Smirnoff, Kishan moved on to a wine company. “Everything was hunky dory until the license fee was hiked. That hike affected the market and the brand I was working with decided to shut operations in Hyderabad,” he said.

This is when Kishan pulled up his socks and spent months pushing the file seeking reduction of license fee from one room to the other in the Secretariat. “₹10,000 per label. It was the most tiring work without knowing whether I would succeed or fail. Finally when I was successful, everyone took notice of me. That was the real success. But now I know there is no better feeling than having to work and launch my own wine brand. There were lots of visits to and fro Nasik carrying bottles of wines to get the brand visibility. Now that it is visible, I feel I have been able to live my dream,” smiles Kishan.

What does he plan to do next? “Start an exclusive wine and salsa club. For that, I will walk as much as needed to make it happen.”

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 11:31:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/kishan-pedhapally-asav-sula-wine/article30742607.ece

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