The Crusading Vintner – Hyderabad

When you’re known by the company you work for, it says a lot about your involvement and dedication. Meet Pedhapally Kishan who used to be popular as Sula Kishan till he worked for the brand and is now being addressed as Charosa Kishan. He started his career as a model in 1995 and in 1997 made his way into the liquor industry. After working with vodka and scotch companies he moved to the wine industry and today, he is known as the man who has introduced premium wines to Telangana and AP since 2004. In a tete-a-tete with Ritz, Kishan talks about his love for wine, his sojourn with two different vineyards and how he is the only man in the city to fight for tax rebates on wine.

If you ask Pedhapally Kishan how he introduced wine to Hyderabad, he will take you through a few flashbacks – from 1995, his first step as a model, to 2004 when his passion for wine turned into a reality. Kishan shares, “My career went from modelling to the liquor industry. From 1999 to 2004, I worked with a fine wine brand called Rivera, after which I moved to Sula and launched in Hyderabad.”

Kishan’s passion for wine teamed with dedication, discipline, hard work, and the support of his well wishers has been his USP to establish the brand in South. “I worked as the Zonal Manager for Sula until 2013 and a year after that I decided it was time to move ahead. In 2014 I launched another wine brand – Charosa, led by Ajit Gulabchand. Within six months I’ve achieved a 22% market share in the premium wine segment,” he says.

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Ask him how the wine industry is doing and he says it’s always been growing and has never faced a lull. “People travel internationally a lot, especially in the last 30 years. Today, looking at the growth so far, it’s safe to say that the wine industry will only grow further”, he says. So while the growth of wine in the Indian market is still up and coming, Kishan informs us that Eastern Europe, Brazil, Croatia, Georgia and the likes, are cities that have high wine consumption.

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Fending for his passion, Kishan took it upon himself to represent the wine industry in Telangana and AP. He shares with us that the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 2012 suddenly hiked the VAT on domestic (Indian) manufactured wine in and from the then existing rate of 70% to an abnormal high of 150%, while keeping the VAT on imported wines at the same rate 70%. Being the only one fighting for tax reductions on the label fee for wine, Kishan says, “I brought down the label fee from two lakh rupees to ten thousand rupees. Sadly though, I was and am the only person to represent the wine industry in Telangana and AP over this issue.”

What is it about this industry that makes Kishan, not only the go-to man for wine but also the only one fighting for its tax rebate? Well, in his words, “After my job at Rivera, I found that selling wine came to me most naturally. My name is now recognised with wine and many people believe I am lucky for them as well.”