Mario Bazán emigrated from Oaxaca, Mexico to the Napa Valley in 1973 and was immediately charmed by its beauty and energized by the vigorous wine growing atmosphere. He decided to make the Valley his home and began his life's work in the vineyards.
In 1979 after working for prestigious companies such as Joseph Phelps Vineyards and others, Mario went to work for Robert Mondavi Winery as a general laborer, then tractor driver, mechanic's assistant, finally as vineyard foreman. It was in that position in 1982 that he was put in charge of outside management for Opus One and Robert Mondavi’s esteemed To-Kalon Vineyard.
After sixteen years with Robert Mondavi, Mario had honed his skills and began to realize his dream of running his own business. But first he moved on to Stag's Leap Wine Cellars where he teamed his vineyard skills with winemaker Michael Silacci and Julia Winiarski for his last “employee” stop on the road to fulfilling his entrepreneurial dream. Mario left Stag’s Leap in 1997 to found and operate Mario Bazán Vineyard Management Company.
Today Mario’s company farms several hundred acres of prime vineyard land throughout the Napa Valley, specializing in its diverse hillside properties. Having farmed extensive acreage in the unique Coombsville AVA (American Viticultural Area) since 1997, Mario is one of the few that has gained the all important in-depth experience necessary to fully understand the appellation. Along with Mario’s familiarity with Coombsville, he has a long history with the vineyards of Shadybrook Estate, having farmed them since 1998.
There’s no doubt that Mario has taken advantage of the opportunities life has presented him. He is a humble man who takes tremendous pride in his work, and over the years he has demonstrated both passion and joy for every step of the vine’s cycle. His experience and dedication to excellence helps form the foundation of Shadybrook Estate’s vision that great wines are made in the vineyard.
Mario is an important member of Shadybrook Estate’s winemaking and viticultural team, consistently demonstrating his committed effort and expertise in his crucial role of ensuring the health and care of the vineyard. In great measure, Shadybrook Estate is able to realize its goal of achieving exceptional character in the bottle through Mario’s personal attention, deep understanding and long experience with its vineyards.
As of February 1st, 2016, Mario has joined winemaker Rudy Zudeima and vititculturist Tom Prentice at the Alkosser's latest acquistion, Chateau Lane Winery. As a core member of the team, we have no doubt that Mario's tremendous skill and broad experience will help guide the estate's Reverance Vineyard into becoming one of the shining stars of Coombsville!