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June 17, 2024

Uma Chigurupati reveals the secret behind creating one of the world’s best wines in India

Pooja Patel

When Hyderabad-based couple Krishna Prasad Chigurupati and Uma Chigurupati bought a piece of plot in 2008 in Hampi, they hadn’t envisioned a winemaking business that would be recognised on an international platform.
Bought solely out of love and passion for wine, the Chigurupatis co-founded KRSMA Estates and released the first batch of wine in 2013.
 Krsma Estates Syrah Wine
Krsma Estates Syrah Wine
Earlier this month, their vineyard made it to the World’s 50 Best Vineyards List (2020), a list based on the most amazing vineyard experiences, albeit the best places to taste superb wines, to learn about winemaking procedure and know about grape-growing practices. The jury for this list were over 40 wine connoisseurs from across the world.
The estate offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc, which are known for their rich flavour and its premium quality.
Chigurupatis wear many hats. Krishna is the Chairman & Managing Director and Uma is the Executive Director of their Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company, Granules India Limited.

They have been marathoners and even found a place in the Guinness Book of records. They have run marathons in few of the toughest terrains like under the searing heat of Mongolia’s Gobi desert, on Ayers Rock, a sandstone monolith in Australia and in the grasslands of Kenya.
They made their first Guinness record in 2011 for being the first married couple to run two marathons in the North Pole and Antarctica. The second record was set in 2015 when they ran seven half marathons in seven continents within seven days!
In a telephonic interview with LuxeBook, Uma Chigurupati tells us how this award has brought positivity and recognition, which is extremely important in these tough times.


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How does it feel to have won this prestigious award? 
It is always a feel-good factor when hard work gets some sort of recognition, especially internationally. Our goal is to be on the wine map of the world and so this is a great feeling.
You two are based in Hyderabad, while the vineyard is in Hampi. What is the reason that you chose a plot for the vineyard so far away from home? 
Prasad (Krishna) has been a wine connoisseur for a long time. He has been into winemaking from the age of 17. He always wanted to pursue his passion for wine. In fact, his retirement plans included owning a vineyard in the South of France or Italy and starting a business there. I too am keen on agriculture as my post-graduation has also been in Soil Microbiology and Plant Pathology. We, however, got busy with the pharmaceutical company that we had established. But at the same time, we were also visiting vineyards across the world.
In around 2007-2008, the former landowner was looking to sell this vineyard plot and our names were referred to him. Out of sheer curiosity, we drove to Hampi to check out the piece of land. Both of us fell in love with it instantly. Plus, we checked the soil and found that it is good for growing wine grapes. So we decided to take it on, even if it was quite a distance.
How is it to manage two big businesses? 
This all started due to the passion for wine and not as a business idea. Even today, that hasn’t changed. It has been tough, no doubt, as the vineyard is in a remote location and it’s a seven-hour drive away from our Hyderabad home. We bought it in 2008 and the initial years were tough as the roads were not good, There weren’t too many farmers and there was no electricity and no place to stay. We started from scratch and slowly, but steadily, we built it to what it is today. We have always believed that whatever task we take, we should do it wholeheartedly. Hence, we both are able to manage the pharma company as well as the vineyard.
 Krsma Estates Sauvignon Blanc
Krsma Estates Sauvignon Blanc
How has the pandemic affected your business?
For the wine industry, the sales have been affected and we too, have faced the same issue. However, we had done our grape harvesting in January and by the time the pandemic started, our wines were already stored in the barrels.
What are the future business plans? 
We believe that winemaking is in the vineyard and not in the winery. If you have a good quality grape, then wine becomes of good quality and nothing can go wrong. We currently have three varieties of wines and we are content with the business because quality-wise, they are fantastic. So, we are always more focussed on our viticulture practices and relatively less on expansion.
What are the recent most wine trends?
In the last 4-5 years, people have been understanding wine better. Many are travelling abroad and becoming aware of what’s available in the world of wine. Until a few years ago, only well-travelled people who were above 40-45 years of age, would try wines and became wine lovers. However, now, I see so many young people inquiring about wines and are also trying various kinds of it.

Wine bottles from your vineyard are supplied in which parts of the country? Is it also exported?
The wine from our vineyard is supplied to F&B sectors of New York, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Goa.
How do you think the consumption of wine will change in the near future, owing to this current health crisis? 
The COVID-19 crisis has really affected the availability of alcohol, as the F&B industry is one of the worst-hit industries. Currently, the spending capacity of people has gone down and possibly, in the near future, this may not change. So, I think, people may not buy non-essential commodities.
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