Yashodhan Naravane ('Billo')

Yashodhan Naravane ('Billo') is the owner and winemaker of Rasa Vineyards, an artisanal, world-class winery that he founded with his brother in Walla Walla, WA. He attended UC Davis and earned an MS in Viticulture and Enology in 2008. In addition to his duties at Rasa Vineyards, he loves to help other serious wine aficionados realise their artistic visions for their wines and grapes. He provides consulting winemaking and viticulture services for the following clients: Delmas, Rivaura, Echo Ridge Cellars, Mackey Vineyards, and Sinclair Estate Vineyards. Billo also loves to teach and is an Adjunct Professor at Washington State University. Prior to making the transition to the wine industry, Billo studied Mathematics and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He also worked as a consultant and manager at several technology companies including Oracle, Netscape, and Hewlett Packard. He is incredibly thankful that he hasn't written a line of code in approximately 10 years. When he is not making wine, teaching about wine, or drinking wine, he can often be found tinkering on the piano or, much to the chagrin of his wife, reading theoretical mathematics texts. Actually, he is just as likely to be learning magic tricks or reading Spiderman comic books. But his favourite activity is spoiling his darling baby granddaughter.

Research Paper: Anthocyanin Sequestration: Can Sulfur Dioxide be used proactively pre-fermentation to increase polymeric pigment formation in Oregon Pinot Noir and Washington Syrah

Alex Heiser
Winery Manager

Alex was raised in Walla Walla from the age of 2. Growing up with 7 siblings, including a twin sister, he learned to work hard for the things he wanted. Alex graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1984 and went on to get his teaching degree from Whitworth College (University) in Spokane, Washington. He returned home to teach Elementary School Physical Education.

In the summer of 1996 Alex travelled to Alaska to work at a fishing resort for the summer. When he returned he worked a crush at Chinook Cellars in 1996 where he caught the wine bug. But, the beauty and majesty of Alaska drew him back to work full time at Waterfall Resort. Though Alaska was his second home he never truly left his roots in Walla Walla, as most of his family and siblings resided here. He dabbled in and out of the wine industry from 1997 to 2010, when he wasn’t working in Alaska.

In 2010 Alex returned home to Walla Walla and began the Viticulture and Enology program at Walla Walla Community College. While in the program, Alex honed his cellar and tasting room skills working at Dunham Cellars. In June of 2012 Alex graduated with his two year degree. Shortly after he took a hiatus for two years to go back to Alaska. Upon his return he joined the Sinclair Estate Vineyard team in May of 2014. He continues to gain knowledge and experience and enjoys the industry that has become his passion.