I would like to prize myself on having some superpower but, short of the ability to fly or to run through walls, I do reserve a small amount of vanity in reassuringly believing that I can make certain predictions about the future. I may not give the best of soothsayers a run for their money, but when it comes to fields of my work and interest, I would be among the first to show up when they ask for crystal-ball volunteers.
One such prediction was when I had returned to India and tasted the first crop of wines that was coming out of our local wineries. My first reaction was to ask my travel agent about one-way flights to Europe. A certain winemaker had even suggested that, but not too politely if I may add.
That was when I had felt that to make good wine in India we would need not just winemakers but people who actually drank the stuff. we would need entrepreneurs who had parked their bread and butter elsewhere and were pursuing this for the right reasons: to be able to put something on their table that they were proud to drink with their friends. Back then, the wine industry was too crowded with money-minded peddlers who thought little of importing foreign wine and sticking their label on it. Mind you, such things are common practice today as well but in light of a new breed of winefolk who are beginning to make their presence more marked, they are appearing less troublesome.
I count many among the new breed who will do us proud: Fratelli, York, Reveillo, Alpine, Mercury… all these are governed by ideas of people who wouldn’t be caught dead drinking plonk so have imposed upon their winemaking teams the same stern standards. In fact, most of them are part enough of the winemaking process themselves. I also enjoy the fact that many of them quit other lucrative jobs or gave up cushier offers abroad to settle down here and do this.
Another addition to this string of pearls is now KRSMA. What was that you ask? Is that ‘Charisma’, in English, or Karishma, meaning miracle, in Hindi? Well, the wine has a bit of both. It is the brainchild of Krishna and Uma Chigurupati and they have chosen a site not too far from Hampi as their proving ground. The vineyards are small, carefully planted and tended to by the lady herself (with a team of course) but it is not an uncommon feat for her to walk the entire stretch for a personal inspection every time she visits. imported equipment, first-grade barrels, and state-of-the-art laboratories (unmatched in India) to conduct all tests and trials. They do show more than an inclination to promote and practise ‘Sustainable Viticulture’.
The wine is, if I can say this, in-line with that original prediction of mine. The couple comes from a non-wine background and have made exemplary wine. Suffice to say that a sip of their wines re-instilled in me the same enthusiasm that I had first returned with to work in India.
More on them is posted on the Wi-Not site. For now, suffice to say that between their Cabernet, and Fratelli’s Sette, we could be looking at not just one but two iconic red wines from India.