Episode 9 – The Grape Farm Spectre

with Rajeev Samant, CEO of Sula Vineyards
In this episode, I’m speaking with Rajeev Samant, CEO of Sula Vineyards and the man responsible for putting wine on the map of India. When asked about his success he simply says he was “the right guy in the right place with the right background.” His friends called him crazy when he quit his job and moved to a poverty stricken area in India to start a vineyard. But, he now has the last laugh having created one of the most visited vineyards in the world. Rajeev talks about the team he assembled to help him create Sula Vineyards, the bureaucratic obstacles he had to overcome in the beginning, and his top takeaways for entrepreneurs. Later in the episode, we hear a fictional story written by Gary Kristoph.

IN THIS EPISODE:

[02:20] The right guy in the right place with the right background
[08:15] Acclimating to the culture of Nashik
[11:52] Rajeev’s team and mentors [15:30] Challenges of an entrepreneur [20:08] Agricultural entrepreneurship in India
[23:25] Takeaways from Rajeev’s experience
[31:38] FICTION: Sinith grapples with tales of a ghost in his vineyard
[35:35] Sinith’s father recounts seeing the Spirit and Sinith tries to understand
[41:50] Sinith gets to the bottom of the ghost story 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:
  • Rajeev’s success goes far beyond having established and grown a business, he essentially crafted an industry that was nonexistent in India.
  • Rajeev turned the vineyard into one of the most visited vineyards in the world. He created a destination where people would love what they saw and experienced. Where they would leave as converts and as brand ambassadors.
  • The Indian government has a lot of potential when it comes to agricultural progress. Rajeev explains how bringing in private buyers could balance out the larger farms who are far too politically powerful.
  • Entrepreneurs need to be strong. They have to be mentally resilient.
  • In your business, if you're not talking about sustainability and you're not thinking about doing business in an eco-friendly way from day one, then you should not be doing it.