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'Persistence is the sure formula for success'

July 31, 2008
Kiran and Yatin Patil met in college -- Narsee Monjee College, Mumbai. They went on to pursue MBA degrees and then settled down to the 9-to-9 corporate work day routine, Kiran at Mahindra's real estate arm and Yatin at Ion Exchange (I) Limited.

Life rolled on, until in 2002 Yatin finally decided to follow his dream of starting his own venture.

Today, Yatin (32) and Kiran (33) are the owners of one of the most promising wine brands in the Indian market, with a presence in almost all of Mumbai's five-star hotels, something all brands aim for but few achieve.

Shifra Menezes spoke with this enterprising young couple on how they went about creating Vintage Wines and what it takes to build a successful company.

How did Vintage Wines begin?

Kiran: We are both essentially management graduates. We were at our corporate jobs, I was working with Mahindra's and Yatin was working with Ion Exchange (I) and later Ceat. We were well absorbed with our corporate lives and had nothing to do with wine whatsoever.

The primary driver behind this whole venture was the fact that the family has always been into farming essentially. We have an ancestral landholding of about 200 acres of grapes and have always been involved in viticulture. That was the first driver.

Secondly, Yatin always had the desire to do something on his own. So the entrepreneurial instinct was always there. This complemented the whole idea. The third factor was that at that point, the wine industry was a sunrise industry. It still is but more so at that time. There were only a few players -- Sula and Indage. So there was a gap in the market with respect to quality, finesse and consistency -- which are very important in the case of wine. That is where we thought Reveilo would bridge the gap and that's how the whole idea and the process began.

What went into setting up Vintage?

Yatin: A lot of deliberation went into the setting up of Vintage and the actual making of the wine. We have been growing grapes for the last 25 years, basically table grapes; the grapes that you eat.

In 2000, the family decided that we wanted to get into the wine business. My dad said this is a potential industry and we should look at trying to do something within that space. That is when it all started. We planted the wine variety of grapes for the first time in 2000. The planning began much before that though. In 2000-01 there were just a few varieties of grapes available in India. The process of importing was quite complicated at the time. So we started off by planting four varieties that were already present in the Indian market.

We then tied up with our Italian consultants, which was also a strategic move. In India, till then, no one had Italian consultants, most were using French consultants. So we thought of going in from a different direction.

We started off with the four classical varieties and then two years back we also imported some Italian varieties. We have been doing a lot of study into the quality of the soil, which vines grow well in our kind of soil. Till today we are still exploring that aspect.

By the time the first crop came it was almost 2003. So in 2003-04 we sold these grapes to other wine makers. In 2005, we used the grapes for Reveilo.

Also read: Wine etiquette, simplified

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