Meet Our People - Sula Vineyards

Our People

Rajeev Samant

Promoter, MD & CEO

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Rajeev Samant will go down in the annals of wine lore as the man who founded India’s main wine region in 1999. Born and schooled in Mumbai, Rajeev headed to California's Stanford University for an undergraduate degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Engineering Management. He then worked for Oracle Corp. in Silicon Valley before heading back to India in 1993, determined to bring the Californian spirit of innovation to his homeland.

In 1999, he established Sula Vineyards, Nashik’s first winery. This historic move transformed Nashik into India’s Wine Capital, and today, Sula Vineyards is globally recognized as India’s most important wine producer.

Rajeev had innumerable firsts in India - planting the first Sauvignon Blanc , Riesling, and Zinfandel, revolutionizing wine tourism with the first winery tasting room in 2005, first vineyard resort - Beyond by Sula in 2007, and the country’s first vineyard music festival - Sulafest, well known to music lovers across the country. His entrepreneurial spirit has been instrumental in creating a thriving local wine industry in India and has brought global recognition, and a fan following, for Indian wine and the Sula brand.


Karan Vasani

Chief Winemaker & SVP – Vineyards and Winery Operations

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Karan Vasani is the chief wine maker of our Company. He has been working with our Company since October 1, 2013 in various capacities. He holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from University of Mumbai and a graduate diploma in viticulture and oenology from Lincoln University, New Zealand. He was awarded the WSET Level 2 Intermediate Certificate and Level 3 Advance Certificate in Wines and Spirits by the Wines and Spirit Education Trust Limited. He has previously worked with CRISIL Limited and Cuvaison Estate Wines in various capacities.


Chaitanya Kamal Rathi

Chief Operating Officer

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Chaitanya Kamal Rathi is the chief operating officer of our Company. He has been working with our Company since April 1, 2019 as the chief operating officer and previously between December 26, 2006 and March 31, 2013 in various capacities. He has also provided consultancy services in relation to our Company’s hospitality business in the past. He holds a bachelor’s degree of science in biotechnology from the University of Mumbai, a master’s degree of science in food biotechnology from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland and a master’s degree in business administration from INSEAD. He has previously worked with Everstone Capital Advisors Private Limited and Mswipe Technologies Private Limited in various capacities.


Bittu Varghese

Chief Financial Officer

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Bittu Varghese is the Chief Financial Officer of our Company. He has been working with our Company since April 25, 2019. He holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from University of Mumbai. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He has previously worked with Marico Industries Limited, S.C. Johnson Products Private Limited (earlier known as Karamchand Appliances Private Limited), Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited and Pernod Ricard India Private Limited in various capacities.


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Our Other Experts

GRÉGOIRE  VERDIN

Global Brand Ambassador and AVP – Wine Tastings and Marketing

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Grégoire is Sula’s Global Brand Ambassador and Head of Marketing. Born and raised in Burgundy, France, he studied business law at the University of La Sorbonne, in Paris and has been associated with F&B for over 10 years. He represents Sula at various national and international events and focuses on tastings, trainings, and marketing.


Kerry Damskey

Master Winemaker

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Currently the Master Winemaker for Sula Vineyards, Kerry Damskey played an integral role in the founding of the company and supported Rajeev Samant's decision to first grow wine grape farms on Nashik soil. Kerry has worked for wineries all over California and across the world to hone his wine knowledge, eventually establishing himself as one of California's best winemakers.

He consults with the Sula team several times during the year to jointly review winemaking practices and the latest wines from our vineyards. After his first visit to India, he was convinced that Nashik was a singularly unique location that would yield distinctive fruit, and create great wines. Kerry's familiarity with the Indian terrain, coupled with his focus on constantly improving the quality of our wines, has led to Sula being consistently known the world over for best wines in India.