There’s a new kid on the block—midtown’s Ice Blocks, that is. Nico Wine, a bottle shop and wine bar with a sweet patio that’s perfect for people watching, joins establishments like Good News Wine and Ro Sham Beaux in bringing natural wines to Sacramento’s vino cognoscenti.
Founder Nico Corich, who opened the convivial spot with business partner Scott Severson, fell hard for natural wines during a stint with Oregon-based Swick Wines several years ago, first helping in the vineyard, then assisting with tasks like bottling and filling cases.
“It was such a heartwarming experience and unlike anything else I had done in my life,” explains Corich, who had a career in advertising at the time. “It electrified my soul and led me to start questioning what I ultimately wanted to do with my life.” His girlfriend (now wife) encouraged him to pursue his dreams in Sacramento, where he could be in close proximity to great winemakers and a supportive customer base. “So I dusted off some business plans and got to work,” he says.
Since opening Nico Wine this past September, Corish has affirmed that “there was a thirst for this type of wine in Sacramento.” Already, he reports, “we’ve had such a warm welcome from folks who know natural wine as well as passers-by who are brought in by the design and decor of our space.” Residents from the surrounding complex are “probably our number-one customers, partly because of proximity but also because these wines resonate with them.”
Natural, for the uninitiated, is a shorthand description of wines that have “nothing added, nothing taken away,” explains Corich. “Grapes are left to be grapes, and winemakers do as little as possible to mechanically or chemically intervene. So there’s minimal use of sulfur and additives, minimal filtering and fining at the end.”
Importantly for Corich and his customers, the wines he carries, including selections from Haarmeyer Wine Cellars and Augur Wine Co., are about celebrating winemakers and, ultimately, connecting with people. “Wine drinkers are not looking for the big, homogenous wines from the big labels,” he says. “They’re looking for this bespoke connection and being able to taste that terroir and the winemaker’s influence very specifically.”
Nico Wine is Corich’s attempt to grow Sacramento into a wine destination—for all the right reasons. “It’s more than about creating a bar. It’s really about creating a moment and creating joy.”