Absentee Winery

Story

Avram (Avi) Deixler is one of California's young winemakers eschewing modern winemaking practices, preferring a more natural approach, to create wines with authenticity. Absentee wines are true artisan wines, hand-crafted by only one man's hands. When Avi is not tending the vines he contracts up in Medocino, you will find him at an old milking barn in Point Reyes Station that he transformed into his winery. Absentee's production is tiny, only 400 cases at this time. What Avi's puts into the bottles, which he labels by hand himself, is truly his personally crafted wine.

Avi's start in winemaking began in Oregon at Roco Winery and later he moved to Australia to work at Yering Station. While working in Australia, Avi began to think more about organic and biodynamic farming and natural wine making techniques.  Avi then set off to France to learn more. Initially, Avi worked at Domaine de Gandine, a biodynamic vigneron in Burgundy. After that, he learned natural winemaking techniques of Olivier and Baptiste Cousin in Anjou. Avi also spent time with the winemaker, François Saint-lô, one of the young risings stars of the natural wine movement in France. After returning to California, he set about his plans to start his winery in Marin and follow his natural approach to making wines.

Avi's sources his grapes from Poor Ranch Vineyards in Medocino. The Poor family has a long legacy of grape growing stretching back to the 1800s. The family has been continuously farming the property for six generations. The oldest vines on the property are over 70 years old. The vineyard has been certified organic. The Poor's traditional farming techniques fit with Avi's intent to make wines as naturally as possible. They only dry farm, all vines are head-pruned and utilize no trellis systems. Grapes that Avi uses are all planted about 1000 feet elevation on southwest-facing steep slopes and ridges putting them high above the fog line.

Avi purchases three varietals, Carignan, Early Burgundy and Petite Sirah, from the Ranch. The Carignan and Early Burgundy grapes come from the oldest blocks on Poor Ranch. Early Burgundy is the name used in California for what has been identified as Abouriou, a grape primarily grown in the Southwest of France. It arrived in the United States sometime prior to the 1920s and how it got its name is unknown. Avi's Flaws bottling is the only 100% bottling of Early Burgundy made in California. The Petite Sirah for Quest Marin comes from 20-year-old vines. Grapes from older vines tend to ferment easily, which is why Avi prefers them.

Avi's barrels are all second-hand, used barrels. He revitalizes by disassembling, shaving them down and reassembling them thus creating a new barrel from an old one. Avi is very adept at barrel work, a skill he taught himself out of pure interest. Absentee wines are all barrel fermented and the wines ferment on their own natural yeasts.

No temperature control is used in the winery except for a sole window that Avi says he opens some days during the summer. The natural shade of the hill behind the winery keeps the sun heat a bay for most of the day and cool ocean breezes make for a very moderate climate all year round.

Some of Avi's wines get racked to new barrels during the aging process. Despite what might be expected from such a treatment, Avi's wines do not show much overt oak characteristics in the final bottling. When it comes to bottling, this is also done by hand in the winery on a tiny bottling machine.


Avi's approach is very straightforward, organic certified grapes from old vines, wild yeast fermentation, natural temperature control, no additives and no added sulfites. Grapes and one man's time are the only ingredients in these wines.
 

Winemaker
Avi Deixler
Avi Deixler
Overview
Wine Maker Avram Deixler
Country America
Region California Wine
Appellation Mendocino

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