Essence of Grape Growing in a Bottle

The story of Bazán Cellars is deeply rooted in traditional and legendary Napa Valley grape growing and centered around the family life that founders Mario and Gloria Bazán have created together.

Mario’s viticulture and winemaking career date back nearly 50 years when, in 1973, he immigrated from Oaxaca, Mexico, and eventually arrived in Napa Valley to work in the vineyards. His original plan was to save a modest sum and return to Mexico to open a wholesale grocery business. But, instead, he stayed in Napa Valley and dedicated himself to learning the seasonality of vineyard work.

During his first five years in Napa, he worked for Vyborny Vineyard Management before landing a role at Robert Mondavi Winery in the late 1970s. He worked his way through the ranks to vineyard foreman and general supervisor over various Mondavi vineyards, including To Kalon and Opus One. He later advanced his viticulture career with a move to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. There he had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from winemaker Warren Winiarski. Drawing upon all his years of experience, Mario started his own vineyard management company and has continued to operate it for 25 years.

Mario and Gloria met in 2003 while Gloria was still living in Michoacan, Mexico. They married in 2005, and Gloria left a 15-year practice as a pediatric dentist to move to Napa Valley and share her life with Mario just in time to harvest their first vintage together. Gloria jumped in wholeheartedly and started to learn about the wine industry, including viticulture, winemaking, and wine marketing. Her past work experience and education from the Mexican Army University and her more recent coursework in enology and winemaking at Napa Valley College inspired Gloria to spearhead the Bazán Cellars label.

Bazán Cellars is a true collaboration and the result of Mario and Gloria’s professional and personal partnership. The label celebrated its 16th anniversary in 2021 with a momentous return of visitors to its downtown Napa tasting room. They craft small-lot, Bordeaux varieties, focusing on single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons, like its signature wines, the 2016 Mario Bazán Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2018 Bazán Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. They also produce a Napa Valley Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc along with a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

Gloria loves passionately sharing Mario’s story with visitors in the tasting room. “I find it extremely rewarding to see and hear guests identify themselves with our story and contribute to the conversation while enjoying our wines. We offer an approachable, high-end experience that fits all levels of wine knowledge, as well as wine and food tastings. In addition, we pair our wines with artisan chocolate truffles and gourmet cheese potato chips to give the tasters an introduction of how our wines work so beautifully with food.”

The Bazán Cellars Tasting Room is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 12:00pm to 6:00pm, Sundays from 12:00pm to 4:00pm, and by prior appointment only Mondays through Wednesdays.

Story By: Elizabeth Smith // Photo Courtesy of Bazan Cellars