Ramdas Shenoyy from stirfrymba.com in conversation with Vaniitha@thePerfectPour. From a Corporate communications and brand management, Vaniitha found her “true forte” in wine and is now a full time wine professional. She is focused on the wine space to advise, train, educate, conduct events and consult wine companies.
How did it all begin? From a corporate career in marketing, communications to Wine? Something about your present initiative?
Back in 2010, it dawned on me that I am passionate about wine and spirits and had to do something about it! Professionally, life was ‘sorted’ as a marketing leader in a variety of roles at top-notch global organizations like Flipkart, Ogilvy & Mather, Mahindra Satyam, and Adecco India. While I enjoyed the decade long thrilling ride in the corporate sector, a tiny voice in the back of my head kept egging me to pursue what truly excited me.
With my work at The Perfect Pour, I share my passion for wines and spirits with the world. And I bring forth a unique and creative approach that helps to evoke a sense of curiosity and appreciation among customers and enthusiasts towards alcho-beverage. I am a consultant to – Restaurants, Hotels, Importers, Corporates, Lifestyle brands, TV Channels and UHNIs for wine & spirits buying, wine training, wine & spirits based exclusive events, importers portfolio strategy, brand management and curation of beverage program and wine menus and more.
What made you switch …on a different track..what was the motivation and passion behind your decision?
The seeds of entrepreneurship were sowed in me very early in life. It had a lot to do with the struggles I went through growing up. I lost my father at an early age. My mother raised three children with limited means. She could just about afford my school fees. So, at 13, I sold clothes I bought off an export store to make some money for the tiniest indulgence. I earned INR 5,000 running a summer camp during my Class 10 vacations. What a thrill that was. I sold insurance policies during graduation; I was the star performer, in studies and at sales. I tasted corporate life too. At Flipkart, Ogilvy, Mahindra Satyam, Adecco India, I took my marketing role seriously but never lost that entrepreneurial drive.
That’s when I discovered my true calling. While working, I studied wines at the prestigious Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London and when I knew I had to choose, I risked leaving a well-paying job and start out on my own with The Perfect Pour. Being in a country that still has a long way to go when it comes to understanding alco-beverage, I saw a gap I could fill.
Studying wines & spirits, I realised how there is so much to explore. The Perfect Pour could open up a whole new world for wines and spirits enthusiasts. Turning my passion into my ‘business’, in addition to material benefits came pride. The young Vaniitha would be so happy to see me right now.
How is your day different now compared to your daily corporate life?
At times, I do miss working with a team, handling big corporate budgets and the process of building brands. But deep within I always wanted to build something credible on my own terms and talent and I feel glad to have found my calling. As an entrepreneur, I am driven daily towards the purpose and I feel accountable for my success and failures.
If your passion becomes your profession, then every day is fun…how true is it?
Agree 100%. Finding your passion is one thing, following it is another. I could not have imagined that my profession as a wine & spirits expert will get me to travel the world.
What is Wine tasting and judging all about?
Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. Judging wines & spirits is a structured and rigorous process, using the blind judging method to ensure judges never see a bottle. In a Wine competition, the jury identifies, rewards and promotes excellence in winemaking. And it is a big responsibility for the jury panel to ensure that every wine or spirit has the best possible opportunity to achieve the highest award that it deserves.
What is your advice to young aspirants who want to get into this profession?
There is no substitute for hard work! Do not fall prey to stereotypical ideas. Let the rules of the game be; make your own. Unlearn everything; work towards promoting wine & spirits appreciation and understanding.
How was the feeling to represent India as a judge in global platforms?
Incredible, honoured and grateful! These 3 words sum up the feeling each time I am out there on global platforms and at the international wine & spirits competitions.
Your philosophy of life.
Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for it. And this quote by Neil Gaiman further strengthens my philosophy — “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you! Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So, write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”
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