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Absentee Winery YouTube
Avi Deixler is a one-man show in the strictest sense: he owns and operates the only registered winery in the North Marin Wine District, a right he had to fight the Marin County Planning Commission to attain. But fight he did, and in 2016, he opened up Absentee, operating out of a barn on a working dairy farm in Point Reyes, near where he grew up. After training at wineries in California, Oregon, Australia, and France, Deixler had a clear vision: to make wine with nothing—nothing—but grapes.
Legend has it that Avi Deixler almost became a cooper instead of a winemaker, and it’s this skill with a barrel that seems to be the key factor in making clean, 100-percent natural wine without any sulfites. He sources used barrels and then hand sands them inside to remove any residue or flaws or charring blisters from previous use. This gives him an immaculate interior surface for his wines, which he makes using red California field blend varieties like Carignane, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Abouriou—a rare grape that grows in Southwest France and California, that somehow got the nickname Early Burgundy by Californians. All his grapes are sourced from the Poor Ranch in Hopland (a 6-generation family of organic farmers). He adds whole clusters to his barrels and closes the lid, so a natural C02 is emitted during carbonic maceration, which innoculates from bacteria.
And that’s it. No additional yeast, no sulfites, no temperature control—nothing added, but a lot gained. Deixler has managed to craft a pure expression of a rare place, and there’s something wild about his wines. There’s energy and whimsy, but above all, they’re alive. Nothin’ but net.