Resplendent in Divergence…


The cat’s name was “Ism.” I believe I was in an altered state when I named the scrawny black and white kitten I had recently rescued from a wood pile next to my house in Mar Vista. It was 1980, I was enrolled in the Art Center College of Design and, as any self-respecting pseudo-intellectual college student would, I had either “Punk” or “Art Rock” on the turntable. One of my favorite altered state discs was a repetitive, driving, syncopated and contagiously danceable “Under Heavy Manners” by guitarist Robert Fripp with lyrics sung by David Byrne. The lyrics, quirkily performed with anxiety-inducing-charm, were a list of “-isms” i.e., Euphemism, Pessimism, Pointillism, Nihilism, Negativism, Positivism, Cynicism, Terrorism… etc., ending with the refrain: “I am resplendent in divergence” called out without backing music as if it were a life-affirming/self-convincing mantra. From then on, or at least for the next few months, everything was just another “-ism” and divergence from the norm was a conscious decision.

The spirit of divergence continues to influence our decisions… like selling the winery and buying a farm. We planted Pinot Noir when consumers were buying Cabernet and made a dry Rosé when sweet White Zin was all the rage. We produced elegant, lower alcohol wines when consumers were lining up for bombastic fruit bombs and we quit making Chardonnay when it was at peak popularity and put our energies into aromatic white varieties instead.

Abraxas is resplendent in divergence. An anomaly amongst the mostly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varietal whites that dominate the shelves. Instead, this single vineyard wine is made of four aromatic varieties – Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer grown in RSV’s organically farmed Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard in Carneros. If you are new to it, It will become the wine you never knew you needed. If you’ve been enjoying it for years, then you are already resplendent in divergence.

Rob Sinskey