Napa Valley AVA
95 Points - Connoisseurs’ Guide
To say that Dr. Madaiah Revana is a unique and fascinating addition to the winery ownership ranks of Napa Valley would be an understatement of enormous proportions.
In fact, the Houston-based Interventional Cardiologist (a specialist who attempts to alleviate heart blockage problems prior to actual surgery) is a native of Bangalore, India, who considers his ownership of Revana Family Vineyard as simply another excellent business opportunity that has grown out of his passion for enjoying good wines.
Dr. Revana, who admits to being fifty-something, is also the only Indian-born person who owns a topflight Napa Valley winery. After finishing his basic medical studies in India, he came to the United States in 1973. After arriving, he interned and practiced in both New York and Philadelphia before completing his training at the prestigious Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He later moved to Houston’s vast medical network where he continues to practice today.
His infatuation and relationship with the wine industry all began quite simply, with a trip to Italy’s famed Tuscany region back in 1996.
“I had already started to enjoy wines by attending tastings with my friends in Texas,” he admitted. “I had also started collecting some of the rare and fine old Bordeaux chateaux that we were tasting. When the opportunity arose for me to make a 1996 visit to Tuscany with a friend who also loved wine, I was immediately interested.”
The beauty and grace of Tuscany, its wineries and friendly people, all made a lasting impression on Dr. Revana, to the extent that he actually considered buying some property and getting into the Italian wine business.
But the difficult logistics of such a venture soon changed his thinking, along with another medical convention trip a month later to the Napa Valley. Dr. Revana noted the amazing similarities between the two locales and this time decided that he would do something about it.
Through a local grower and professional vineyard manager named Jim Barbour, he was able to purchase adjoining pieces of impeccable valley floor property that was immediately adjacent to the noted Grace Family Vineyards and across the road from the highly respected Vineyard 29 property. Both pieces totaled around 11 acres and were considered elite locations for vineyards.
“It sort of all fell together quite amazingly,” he recalled recently. “I was able to put together a fabulous team and the rest is history.”
The ‘team’ consisted of Barbour handling the vineyard-related matters and highly sought after winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett of Screaming Eagle fame, performing the day-to- day duties of winemaker.
Revana Family Vineyard’s initial release of only 1,000 cases came in the form of the 2001 vintage which was met with thunderous applause from everyone in the wine business and highest accolades from the not so easily swayed wine press. As expected, the first release sold out quickly after such rave reviews.
Even though the location of the vineyard was paramount in Revana’s initial plans and organization, he quickly realized that additional facets of his operation would be necessary for its prolonged success.
To that end, a meticulous 5,000 square foot winery was completed in 2004 that even featured a number of transplanted 40-year-old olive trees that neatly completed the cycle begun in Tuscany some eight years before.
Not one to stand idle for a second, Dr. Revana also acquired some property in Dundee Hills Appellation of Oregon’s Willamette Valley where he will produce his first Pinot Noir that will release a little less than 2,000 cases in 2008.
For the present, Dr. Revana indicated that his current level of around 2,000 cases produced would remain in place for the foreseeable future at Revana Family Vineyard.
“Even though we have a permit to produce up to 15,000 cases, I think we will stay where we are,” he added. “This level is what we can easily produce and control our incredible quality. Everything is allocated at this point, and staying at this level seems to make good marketing sense.”
One final piece of the Revana Family Vineyard remains unplaced. Dr. Madaiah Revana has two grown children, Arum and Alexandra, whom he hopes will one day become interested in the wine business. It’s the reason he named his venture Revana Family Vineyard, and their inclusion would bring fruition to his entire set of plans.