Mario Bazán Cellars
Napa Valley AVA
One of the finest in Napa Valley
The story of Mario Bazán and his Mario Bazán Cellars is not too dissimilar from a number of new wineries that have cropped up throughout Northern California during the past decade. These wineries are owned by Mexican immigrants that migrated to California and began working in the fields for established wineries and later opened their own companies in various facets of the wine industry.
In the case of Mario Bazán Cellars, the odyssey began in 1973 when Mario Bazán, now 57, left his native Oaxaca State (called the culinary capital of Mexico), in extreme southern Mexico. Bazán came to Napa Valley on the advice of his uncle who lived in Oakland. In Napa Valley, he first worked for Joseph Phelps Vineyards and other wineries until finally landing at iconic Robert Mondavi Vineyards in 1979. Working his way up the ladder, Mario Bazán was eventually made a foreman three years later and put in charge of some of Robert Mondavi’s most prestigious vineyards including the famous Opus One Vineyard in Oakville.
Mario Bazán looked and listened to everything around him and an entrepreneurial spirit emerged in 1997 after he left Mondavi and worked two years for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Then, Bazán left Stag’s Leap and formed his own vineyard management company that soon became widely regarded as among the finest in Napa Valley.
But the urge to own his own winery was still at the core of Bazán’s development goals and in 1999 Bazán noticed that several of his vineyard clients had extra wine grapes to sell. The thought of his own winery beckoned once again, and this time, Mario Bazán decided to do something about it.
He scouted the area for a potential vineyard site and finally settled on a small 1 1/2 acre location in the foothills surrounding Atlas Peak.
“I had several clients around the land I found and their grapes were wonderful,” he recalled. “At first I bought the property as only an investment, but we have really fallen in love with it and will probably stay there for some time.”
After planting the acreage to Cabernet Sauvignon, Mario Bazán began looking in earnest for a winemaker. A long-term friendship made at Joseph Phelps with an assistant named Victoria Coleman proved to be a winning combination for Mario Bazan’s first two Cabernet Sauvignons. She quickly established herself as a definitive up and coming winemaker in the industry.
Today, the wines for Mario Bazan Cellars are made by consulting enologist David DeSante, who has nearly twenty years of winemaking and viticultural experience. His multifaceted skills combined with Mario’s expertise in the vineyard has created an incredibly strong team behind the brand.
The first release of Mario Bazán Cellars’ Cabernet Sauvignon was a microscopic 290 cases, but earned major kudos from none other than wine guru Robert Parker. To the modest winery owner Mario Bazán, the impressive ratings and high scores came as a surprise.
“I felt that as a winery we were really unique,” he continued. “I was an ‘unknown’ in the winery business and my philosophy was to take the ball and run with it. Needless to say, I was extremely happy with the results.” Winery production has risen to more than 1,200 cases and Bazán hopes to one day produce a good deal more wine. He currently sources from his own estate vineyard, in addition to the many vineyards his vineyard management company oversees and is always keeping his eyes open for new potential sites.
In 2003, Mario met his now wife Gloria (a dentist in Mexico) who moved to Napa. Gloria is currently serving as Mario Bazán Cellars’ general manager as well as the mother of the pair’s twins, Antonio and Alexander.
It is undoubtedly an understatement that Mario Bazán and his winery have exceeded even their wildest expectations. Few wineries hit the jackpot so early in their development due to the fact that the wine business is so fiercely competitive in so many aspects. Only the thoroughness and expertise of the self-made grower turned vintner and his unwavering passion made it all possible.
The high standards Mario sets for himself and his workers in the vineyards are shared by Gloria in the winery and reflected in the production of each wine in the Mario Bazan Cellars portfolio. Their winemaking venture is a natural progression in bringing Mario’s life’s work from the ground to the table. Cheers to their remarkable success story – and equally remarkable wines.
A Note from Mario & Gloria
Dear Platinum Series Members,
We are delighted to introduce you to our 2013 Mario Bazan Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a tangible symbol of our family’s passion and commitment to cutting-edge grape growing techniques and artisan winemaking.
Our meticulous handcrafted approach in making this limited production wine expresses the land’s exceptional terroir and captures the varietal’s genuine aromatics, essence and flavors.
In 2013, Mother Nature was very generous and provided the Napa Valley with an almost perfect growing season. We are delighted with the results achieved by this bountiful vintage.
Our passion and genuine love of the vine is our family heritage and we are honored to share our wine with you and yours.
Many thanks for being a part of our family’s journey.
Mario and Gloria Bazán