Hampi vineyard puts India on the global grapevine

“The discovery was accidental,” says Uma Chigurupati, co-founder of KRSMA Estates, over a cellphone name from Hyderabad. “The land where we have our vineyard is a long way from Hyderabad, where we live… My husband [Krishna Prasad Chigurupati] was recommended by an acquaintance, when its original owner was looking to sell.”

Uma, together with her post-graduate diploma in Soil Microbiology and Plant Pathology, and Krishna Prasad along with his years-old fame as a wine connoisseur and post-retirement desires of proudly owning a vineyard in the South of France, appeared very best contenders to revive struggling grapevines in the hills of Hampi. That was 12 years in the past. This yr, in July, their KRSMA Estates made it to the record of 50 World’s Best Vineyards 2020, having made an impression on a jury of 40 consultants — primarily well-travelled connoisseurs — in the nation.

“We both know about viticulture, and we had extensively travelled to vineyards around the world. Of course, we had to pull everything out and plant anew, but we loved the landscape as soon as we saw it. I said — come on, let’s do this,” continues Uma with amusing of recollection.

Those have been busy years for the two — not solely have been the Chigurupatis helming Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical main Granules India, however they have been additionally working marathons round the world.

“We thought it had not been scientifically planted, so we pulled out everything except one particular plot, just to observe how the vines grow. And the rest, we planted accordingly.” That first batch was of Cabernet Sauvignon. By the finish of 2008, the couple had planted 4 kinds of grape together with Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Sangiovese utilizing the inputs of a viticulturist flown in from Australia. Their first wine was prepared in 2010. “We have to wait at least a year-and-a-half to see how the wine turns out, in any batch. I think that is one thing common in marathons and winemaking: patience is essential,” provides Uma.

But a vineyard expertise shouldn’t be essentially nearly the wine, says Magandeep Singh, famous sommelier and the panel chair for India at 50 World’s Best Vineyards.

“This award is for the world’s best vineyards: they are not commenting on the wine, but on the beauty of the vineyards, which is an aesthetic. Having said that, KRSMA has probably the finest wines that India makes, but this is not just about that.”

Hampi vineyard puts India on the global grapevine

KRSMA, he says, is amongst quite a few vineyards he had put up for voting earlier than a handpicked jury. “But this award, in essence, would benefit all of them, and the industry as a whole, since it has put Indian vineyards on the map.” There quite a few others in the nation that, Singh feels, have the potential to change into vacation spot vineyards — not solely due to their wines but in addition due to the expertise they provide. “Deva wines (SDU winery) is located just outside of Bangalore, and has coconut palms in the middle of the vineyard, which is really pretty. Fratelli near Pune [a rolling green estate with a view of faraway hills] is more equipped to be a destination vineyard for, say, weddings. It helps that they are just three hours from Pune: you could take a 7 am flight from Chennai or Delhi and reach in time for lunch,” he provides.

Other vineyards he’s optimistic about are these of Grover Zampa, in Karnataka’s Nandi Hills and the terraced slopes of Maharashtra’s Nashik Valley: “The vineyard right outside Bangalore airport is a lovely place to be and good for a weekend getaway. Their Nashik one has a beautiful cellar and tasting area: they have also done events there with tents.”

He provides that the KRSMA vineyard’s proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage web site of Hampi performs a really massive half in its total attraction. “Though the crowd that visits and explores the ancient ruins of Hampi is probably very different from those likely to spend a weekend at a winery, it would nevertheless help for tourists to know that this option is close at hand,” he observes.

The style of Hampi

“Hampi hills is an arid area, with very little rainfall. The soil is iron-rich and has lots of minerals, but plants won’t grow very vigorously because the lands are still virgin lands, without much organic matter. We get very little fruit from it, but we have turned that into an advantage because of the concentration of flavour. Especially in cabernet, we are able to get very good-bodied wine because of this terroir,” says Uma.

So what subsequent? “We are looking at building world-class facilities, of course. For now, we will let the beauty of this place speak for itself.”

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