[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Meet entrepreneur Priyanka Save who engineered her way to make wine from Chikoo

By Nikita Bameta
August 15, 2022, Updated on : Fri Sep 02 2022 15:56:34 GMT+0000
Maharashtra-based Priyanka Save, Founder and Managing Director of Hill Zill Wines, which makes Chikoo wines, has transformed the homegrown wine scene with her fruit wine brand Fruzzanté.
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Born and brought up in Bordi, a coastal town in Maharashtra, Priyanka Save always had a liking for making something on her own.


Unsatisfied with her engineering life in the US, Priyanka decided to return home, after which farm visits became an everyday thing. 


“My father has a resort adjoined with the farms. I started going there, understanding how farming works and meeting people,” she says. With this, she learnt the workings of a business. 


During her visits, Priyanka realised that despite producing for the world, pricing posed a big challenge for farmers. This led her to critically consider the need for the development of an industry to support farming in her hometown in Maharashtra.


She identified that Chikoo (Sapodilla) was abundant in her hometown and was getting wasted. There were no by-products available as well. Priyanka tried everything ranging from understanding how people were utilising chikoo to working on fruits and juices herself. In this process, she came up with the idea to start Fruzzante, which she claims was a mere accident. 


“While we were working with the fruits and juices, they kept fermenting, and I started looking at fermented products,” she recalls. 


This was new to Priyanka as she belonged to a completely different background, and the journey towards learning about the same was not easy. Nonetheless, alcohol was never on her mind. 


After understanding the fermentation process came the decision to learn about wines, she says. 

“I did my WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) to learn about wines. That consumed so much of me that I became very sure that I wanted to get into this direction, and this is what I wanted to do, but with my fruit. This is my story of picking chikoo for Fruzzanté,” shares Priyanka.  


Priyanka has gone through it all - long periods of researching, experimenting, running behind bureaucracies for licensing procedures, and being questioned unreasonably, but nothing broke her spirit to create.  


“The first time we ever crushed chikoo, I was eight months pregnant. I did not work any less than any man in that room,” recalls Priyanka about her share of personal challenges.


Reflecting on her journey, she says, “Once I met a superintendent in Thane and he called me to his office saying he wanted to have a conversation with me. He sat me down and made me understand that what I was doing was going to tarnish my family.” 


As appalling as it is to learn about such incidents, Priyanka finds these incidents amusing. Brought up in a family where women were always equally into business as men, a confident Priyanka always chose to focus on her aim.


Any advice for budding women entrepreneurs? “Just start! There should be nothing to stop you. No matter what you do, be it at business or at home, you are going to be judged. What is more important is women going out and doing what they have to do,” urges Priyanka. 


Edited by Megha Reddy

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