The culinary world has witnessed a remarkable rise in the cult of winemaking. And the man leading this pack in the city is winemaker Kishan Pedhapally. With more than two decades of experience in the industry, Kishan Pedhapally finally launched his label, ASAV wines, in 2016. Encompassing all the qualities a badass wine should be, ASAV is light, crisp and refreshing, and best when served chilled. Kishan tries to bring out that quality in an expressive wine and has an intensity, elegance, nuance and balance and not be forceful, obvious and heavy.
Having transformed the nature and reputation of Nashik wines in the country, the maverick winemaker has even greater plans for the region. Consumed by the vision of putting India on the world’s wine map, ASAV is his labour of love and one that he is proud to share with all wine lovers. In the below interview, Kishan provides great detail on his ideas and how he constantly strives to move forward, plus he talks about his plans for the festivals.
Can you share more stylistically about ASAV Wines for those who haven’t had them? What led to this wine, and what do you want consumers to know about it?
At ASAV, we make wine that reflects our environment, so it made sense to develop a menu that captures both season and place. Made from the best Nashik grapes, ASAV Wines are very Indian consumer-focused that does a great job of straddling richness and elegance, opulence and freshness. Basically, we have something for everyone – light wines, off-dry wines, robust wines and reserve wines. Connoisseurs can enjoy it with local food and not hunt for exotic dishes. Five years ago, I wanted to make good wine for wine connoisseurs and started ASAV. I gave it my best, and here I am after facing many difficulties.
What is your winemaking approach?
I personally like my wines to be refreshing, vibrant, and simple. I try to bring these elements into my wines while allowing them to express their inherent flavours at the same time. So my winemaking style is also simple, but the focus is more on bringing out varietal character rather than making it a product with many additives.
Was there a moment that you remember when you knew that you wanted to be a winemaker?
Yes, you see, I started working in the wine and spirits industry some 25 years ago and was fascinated by the many choices and styles. Then it became an amazing creative outlet for me. I knew that I had to make a career in this field. My winemaker Ajoy Shaw made his first wine in college 30 years ago for a project, which got him involved. I chose him to be part of my project.
What are some characteristics in your wines that consumers will find that may be your “stamp” or “trademark”?
At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to craft a wine that expresses a sense of place with the right balance, structure, and freshness. So the fruitiness of all our wines and reserve wines with balanced oak shines through.
What is your favourite after-work drink?
I like to sip on something as the day ends while stress and worry take a backseat, so currently, my favourite is a chilled glass of ASAV Reserve Chenin Blanc.
How has the pandemic affected your work?
The pandemic has affected every life and every business and we are no exception. Our business has been impacted; it has slowed down sales. But now as gradually things are opening, we are seeing a positive response for our products. Our sales have also picked up over the last couple of months, and we are expecting things to get better very soon. Consumers have traded for better wines over average wines, and that is a good sign for ASAV.
Share a memory relating to your work that is close to your heart.
In 2018, I was awarded the “Wine Man of Hyderabad” award by the Telangana Hotels Association & Associated with Telangana Government. This was a truly special moment to be acknowledged for my work in the industry.
How will you be celebrating Dusshera and Diwali this year?
This year Dussehra and Diwali celebrations will involve distributing this year’s premium wines to the consumers. I always try to improve the quality each year, so they get a good value for the wine price.
Is there anything else you want to add?
It is the start of the festive season, and I wish all my consumers and your readers the best season. Please enjoy yourselves, drink responsibly and do not drink and drive. I sincerely hope the worst is over and we rise again after the pandemic! – as told to Anisha