Most of the year, Avi Deixler logs in long hours in the vineyards of the Napa Valley and during the busy fall harvest season he’s processing the grapes from the vines at a winery.
By Georgetta L. Morque
Most of the year, Avi Deixler logs in long hours in the vineyards of the Napa Valley and during the busy fall harvest season he’s processing the grapes from the vines at a winery. Some have described this work as backbreaking, but not Deixler. He’s on a path to becoming a winemaker and these are steps along the way.
The 2005 Rye High School graduate has been cultivating his passion for wine from Rye to the West Coast to Australia to learn everything about the industry and the art of winemaking. Deixler is grateful to his parents, Ellen and Howard, for giving him the green light and support.
He developed his love of the grape at Wine at Five, where he worked as a box boy over the summer during his college years and owner Cai Palmer took him under his wing. Once he got his nose into wine, Deixler knew what he wanted to do with his life. “I found wine right away and I knew I wanted to get into winemaking,” said Deixler, who describes wine as “art in a glass.” Palmer remembers Deixler’s passion for wine well. “He was driven to learn more about the whole industry and he’s done it right.”
To follow his dreams, Deixler spent time in Southern California where he was able to attend wine fairs, meet winemakers and express his desire to work and learn. Fortunately he connected with a winemaker from Oregon’s Willamette Valley who saw his passion and offered him a job at a small winery. After working in all phases of the business, Deixler then traveled to Australia to the Yarra Valley for another opportunity at a winery 50 times the size with a wide range of wine styles. There he honed his skills on the production side and moving and storage.
Deixler also studied standards in wine tasting and analysis through the Wine & Spirits Educational Trust in Manhattan and earned an intermediate master of wine certificate. To gain more hands-on experience, he worked on a farm in Petaluma, California and then returned to Oregon and ultimately the Napa Valley. At this point, Deixler has made friends all over the world.
On his days off in Napa, he spends time doing what he set out to do – make his own wine. While he’s always made wine for someone else, he had a special opportunity to make wine for himself. Fully versed in the craft, he made a barrel of Zinfandel from grapes from 40-year-old head-pruned vines that he tended to all year, so the process and the end results are very special to him. “Wines are like people, the more they age, the more they are complex.”
While it’s not hard to break into the wine industry, it’s not easy to break into winemaking, according to Deixler. But he says he’s been lucky. Now that the intense harvest season is winding down, he has options to go several places, including France. “I worked really hard to put myself in a position to have options.” Determined and on a mission, Deixler is primed to move forward in his development to reach his goal. “Wine is my life.”