Santa Barbara County region
It is Nico’s belief that wines are most unique when they express the influences of the place and time the grapes were grown - essentially, the vineyard and the vintage.
Established in 2011 by Nico Azios, Azios Cellars is a tiny garagiste winery in Santa Barbara, California focusing on vineyard-designate Syrahs from the spectacular and diverse terroir of Santa Barbara County. Nico crafts limited bottlings from his Paradise Road Vineyard, nestled in the eastern-most alcove of the Santa Ynez Valley, in addition to select other vineyards in the region, including the renowned Camp 4 Vineyard, Agua Dulce Vineyard, and Calf Canyon Vineyard. His wines are small-batch, highly-rated, and extremely hard to find, making this a special feature for our Garagiste Wine Club members.
Nico Azios was raised in San Antonio, Texas and initially followed a career path as a breast cancer researcher (slash phytochemist) where he found himself publishing articles about the effects of red wine compounds on cancer cell biochemistry - all the while becoming more and more interested in the wine side of things. Nico saw the marriage of art and science in winemaking and wanted to be a part of the ancient craft.
With a PhD in Plant Biology, Nico has been passionate about plants his entire life, so the concept of “wines being made in the vineyard” is especially integral to his winemaking philosophy. After gaining experience as a vineyard researcher and winery lab tech at Flat Creek Estates in the Texas Hill County, and stints at Tuscany’s Cosimo Massini, Santa Ynez Valley’s Gainey Vineyard, and South Africa’s Waterford Estate, Nico was ready to apply his knowledge to his own Syrah-focused label, Azios Cellars.
His goal at Azios Cellars is simple: to create single-vineyard designated wines with minimal intervention or manipulation in the cellar. It is Nico’s belief that wines are most unique when they express the influences of the place and time the grapes were grown - essentially, the vineyard and the vintage. Since his first vintage in 2011, Nico has grown Azios Cellars slowly and currently produces just a handful of wines, including Syrah, Zinfandel, and a dry Rosé of Zinfandel, from select vineyard sites in Santa Barbara County.
When designing the logo for Azios Cellars, Nico turned to graphic designer and friend Carlos Radillo, for his expertise. Nico wanted the depiction of a Naja, a Navajo symbol inherited from the Spanish conquistadors meant to ward off “the evil eye”. His wine labels are all unique as well and show intricate artist-commissioned drawings on each vineyard-designated bottling.
Amara Maliszewski is Nico’s partner in business and in life, and the couple has two daughters together - Lucinda and Etta. We are happy to share this small family winery with our Garagiste Wine Club members.