Keeper Collection #SommChat Guest Billo Naravane @winenut

12/20 Master of Wine & Winemaker Billo Naravane, Rasa Vineyards


KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: We're about ready to dive in w/questions, so shout out to Billo Naravane @winenut to say hello & so he knows you're here! #WineWednesday #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Don't forget that EVERY tweet during this chat should include the #SommChat hashtag in order for everyone to see it!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: As we ask Billo Naravane @winenut our Qs, you can ask your Qs as well! He'll do his best to answer all Qs in the order they come #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: W so many participants lots of gr8 Q's R asked! Even if u dont ask 1--give a S/O 2 @keepercoll & @winenut 2 let us know u R here! #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Let's start talking #wine with Master of #Wine Billo Naravane @winenut ! #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat Hello Everyone! I am very excited to be here. Good morning

Sandy Wasserman @SandyWasserman: Good morning Billo @winenut Q. How did you get your start in wine business & whom are your mentors? Thanks & Cheers! #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I started out as a wine collector and got tired of tech industry. So I went to UC Davis...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat me any brother always wanted to start a winery, but first I had to learn winemaking...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat my mentors are Bob Betz, Steve Lagier

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Gr8 to have you back @SandyWasserman on #SommChat great Qs keep them coming to @winenut

Sandy Wasserman @SandyWasserman: Great to be here! #SommChat #wine

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @winenut when did you first become interested in learning about #wine? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I first got interested in wine in 1991, I had moved out to silicon valley and would go to Napa with friends

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm did you ever work in retail or in resto to get experience before studying to be #Winemaker @winenut

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat No, I never worked in retail or restaurant. I approached it from a collector standpoint and knew that I wanted to make wine...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat just need to get the know how on the technical side

Sandy Wasserman @SandyWasserman: Q @winenut How was 2017 harvest & how are things in barrel? Thanks #Sommchat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat The 2017 growing was a bit weird, very warm in April-June, blazing hot in August, then cooled off significantly...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat that being said, the grapes in WA did great, pretty much across the board. I will do full barrel by barrel eval in March

Sandy Wasserman @SandyWasserman: Weird is good, I like weird! #wine #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q from #SommChat #Somm why did you pick #WashingtonState to start your #winery ? Would you do same location or would U choose another state knowing what you know @winenut

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat Napa/Sonoma was too expensive, we are not wealthy. Some winemakers in suggested WA as a possibility...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat land is much cheaper and there are some sites with phenomenal terroir. I wouldn't change a thing

Rashmi Primlani @primlanikitchen: WA has the potential of being one of the youngest outstanding Wine regions of the world - great choice #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I agree that WA has huge potential and with potential global warming it is a great place to be. There are some amazing terroirs up here, Rocks District is amazing

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Welcome back @PrimlaniKitchen to #SommChat Happy #WW

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #sommelier @winenut what inspired you to get your Master of #Wine certification? Why did you choose MW over @MasterSommUS ?

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat a lot of late night wine drinking and smack talk with my wine buddies, this was back in 2001. We all said we would try for the MW, I didn't even know what it was back then...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat but I am glad that I went for the MW. I didn't go for the MS because I had never worked at a restaurant and did not have the service component knowledge

Angela Santarelli @constantwining: Did you feel it was necessary to get your MW in order to become a winemaker? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat No, not at all. I pursued the MW for the challenge and I figured it couldn't hurt my winemaking/viticulture consulting :)

Billo Naravane @winenut: Agreed - there's always more to learn. When it comes to wine, that is a lifelong pursuit for many of us. #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @winenut why and when did you decide to start @rasavineyards and what does the name mean? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat we started Rasa Vineyards in 2007, I was in my second year at UC Davis master's program at the time...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat the name "Rasa" means "essence" in Sanskrit, and is used in the context of fruit and soil, closest Indian word to terroir

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @winenut what are some of the biggest challenges of being in the #winemaking industry in #US? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat The ratio of producers to distributors is quite large, this makes it more difficult to get the attention of quality distributors

Sandy Wasserman @SandyWasserman: Q @winenut What wines/regions are you drinking when not drinking #Rasa wines? #wine #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I am a huge Bordeaux, Champange, Rhone, and vintage port nut. Also love rioja, priorat, aussie shiraz

Angela Santarelli @constantwining: Hello Billo @winenut! I am a huge fan of Washington wines so very interested in knowing what style of wines you make? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat At Rasa, we try to stay true to the terroir of vineyard and the vintage growing conditions. Overall our style is more about elegance rather than power

Angela Santarelli @constantwining: I'm pleased to hear that you lean towards an old world style and look forward to someday tasting your wines #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat Thank you Angela. You are welcome to taste at the winery anytime or can order online as well at

Angela Santarelli @constantwining: I visited Walla Walla for the first time in 2011 and hope to get out there again soon, hopefully in 2018. #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat please let me know if you visit again, we can a great tasting for you

Angela Santarelli @constantwining: Thank you!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how long did it take you to get #MW and how does it feel to have completed? Will you continue to study and if so same or differently @winenut

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I started in 2009, but dinked around for the first few years and didn't give it the serious attention it needed...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I started studying quite seriously in 2012, I passed the theory in 2015, the tasting in 2016, and finished my research paper in 2017

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @constantwining Welcome to #SommChat and great question for @winenut keep them coming!

Angela Santarelli @constantwining: So happy to be able to join you today! #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @winenut how has @rasavineyards grown since inception and how many #wines do U make? Do U distribute outside of #Washington

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat We started out at 700 cases, and make about 2200-2400 cases of our top tier wines, just launched a 2500 case $16 retail red blend called Occam's Razor. We make about 9-12 wines in a given year....

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat we distribute in Chicago, NY,NJ, DC, Virginia

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat peep did you #travel to #wine regions when studying for MW if so what were some of ur fav @winenut did U chg any of UR #winemaking techniques fr what U learned traveling @winenut

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I am slightly embarrassed to say that the only wine regions I have been to are in the US. I read a lot about other regions and obviously tasted a lot

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @winenut tell us about the #wine consulting that you do for other #vineyards. How did you get started consulting and how many wineries do U consult for? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I am consulting winemaker for Delmas, Echo Ridge Cellars, Mackey Vineyards, and Sinclair Estate Vineyards. I do vineyard cosultation for Firethorn and Resurgent Vineyards...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I worked in computer consulting industry and translated that consulting skillset to winemaking/viticulture. I love it!!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat Peep @winenut what are some of your favorite #foods to pair with your various @rasavineyards #wines? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I love pairing wild salmon with our rocks district Grenache, it really works amazingly well. Lamb with our red mountain CS (Plus One) is a no-brainer

Sandy Wasserman @SandyWasserman: @winenut anything new to expect from @rasavineyards & beyond in #2018 ? #wine #SommChat #wawine

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat we have a couple surprises that will be released in a few years...more on that later, not for 2018, sorry to tease you...

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm What is the terroir and exposure like in your @rasavineyards and are your #wines made to age or drink young @winenut? What is UR process 4 naming new wines?

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat our rocks district wines are very minerally and perfumed, our red mountain wines are more structured and tannic. All of our wines are made to age and improve in the cellar, critics put 10-20 yr windows on the wines...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat naming the wines is fun and challenging. The names all tie into some aspect of our backgrounds. Some are scientific/mathematical and some are music related

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @winenut what are the primary grape varieties you use at @rasavineyards? How did U choose them? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat We do a lot Syrah and BDX varieties, mostly because that is what we love to drink. Also some chard (burgundian styled) and some Riesling, because who doesn't love a great Riesling!

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat These varieties work great in WA state, but we did do a lot research and looked for the very best terroir sites for these varieties

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm do u intend to increase the states where U distribute UR #wine and if so which states R expected next? How do you decide how to price UR #wines @winenut

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat We are actively looking for distribution into TX, FL, CA. We just signed up with a dist in CO, will start soon with them. Pricing is based on blind tastings with other winemakers/collectors from wines all over the world

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat on the distribution side, we need someone that can focus on telling our story and why are wines are special. I don't think we would do as well with someone with a large book

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @winenut what has it been like opening and running a #vineyard with your brother? What role/s does he play versus your roles? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat Me and brother get along great, (as kids we fought everyday!), I couldn't ask for a better partner. We do everything together, from the winemaking, hauling grapes, blending, maketing etc

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @winenut MW, #winemaker, professor, consultant—you do a lot! What R your favorite parts of having so many different things to do and how do you manage so much ? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I don't sleep much, but seriously I love to teach, make wine etc.. so it never seems like work. I get to play everyday.

Angela Santarelli @constantwining: Sounds like you figured out the secret of life #SommChat

Angela Santarelli @constantwining: Billo @rasavineyards Q I hear that you play the piano as well... Are you as passionate about music as you are about winemaking? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I absolutely love playing piano! Mostly classical stuff, Beethoven, Chopin. I am currently learning the sonata pathetique, parts of it are a knucklebuster!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how do you feel Climate Change will affect your winemaking and #wine in the future? @winenut

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat We are generally seeing warmer growing seasons, as a result we have had to take steps in the vineyard to slow down the ripening process, with judicious hedging techniques and water management strategies

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm do you ever do #Winemaker dinners outside of #Washington? What is your fav type of #resto cuisine to pair with your @rasavineyards #wines

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I just did some winemaker dinners in Chicago area a couple months ago. I am a huge fan of French food, and our wines generally pair quite well with that. But I love all types of food, just no avocado please

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm what R some of the top things you learned studying for the MW and what would U was the hardest part to tackle? @winenut was the the award ceremony like in #London

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat I really had to come to grips about my tasting ability and how to improve in the areas I was lacking, so lots of focused blind tastings and repeating often the wines I would miss, eventually it all started to click...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat the theory portion was easier for me, I tend to do well in studying. The award ceremony was a total blast, an amazing experience! One of the highlights of my life.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm hear often that owning a #winery is 4 many a cash absorber than provider? What has been UR experience and what do U see as the sweet spot for prod. Needed to make a profit @winenut

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat great question! A winery can definitely be a money pit, there is no shortage on things to spend money. You must be disciplined and have a strategy. Most wineries are cash flow even in year 10, we made it in year 7 due to having clear...

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat vision on style and our intended market segment. Your production levels needed for success will depend on your market segment that you are selling the wines to. It is hard to make a living selling 1000cases for the $10 retail segment

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm if you could afford to make #wine anywhere in the world besides #washington where would it be and why @winenut

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat probably Bordeaux or Douro, I love the wines from these regions. They are fascinating and compelling to me

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @winenut when you are not drinking #wine, what do you drink? If you were not making #wine what would be UR dream job? #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat occasionally I drink beer or single malts, but other than wine it is usually water. My other dream job is as a concert pianist, but I missed that boat. I started piano at age 25

Rashmi Primlani @primlanikitchen: 20 Reasons why you should be drinking Wines from Washington with @Wa_State_Wine #SommChat @keepercoll

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Keeper is so excited to have @Wa_State_Wine as our #SommsUF VIP and Fan Fav Presenter on Jan 28th in #Austin learning so much from Billo Naravane of @rasavineyards on #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Time to wrap up! Hope you enjoyed this hour of #wine talk w/ Master of #Wine & #winemaker Billo Naravane @winenut! #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: It was great to have Billo Naravane @winenut join us today for #SommChat. We hope everyone learned as much as we did!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Please join us in thanking Billo Naravane, MW @winenut for his time talking #wine on #SommChat

Billo Naravane @winenut: #SommChat Thank you for having me on sommchat today. It was really fun. And please let me know if you are ever in Walla Walla, I will do a great tasting for you, probably even do some barrel sampling as well. :) Thank you!

Angela Santarelli @constantwining: Thanks Billo @winenut! It's been fascinating hearing your story and, of course, all about your wines @rasavineyards! #SommChat

Sandy Wasserman @SandyWasserman: Happy holidays everybody! #SommChat