Sine Qua Non was created after the 1994 harvest of a Bien Nacido Syrah named “The Queen of Spades”. Winemaker Manfred Krankl feels strongly that each vintage is a completely unique wine and thus he gives each wine a unique name. He also creates the artwork for each new label himself. Previously, Manfred had made wines with Bryan Babcock and John Alban and still sources much of his fruit from Alban’s vineyard. The basic white wines have always been a white blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne and Viognier and a red wine based on Syrah plus Grenache. Sometimes there are small quantities of Rose and a Grenache-based red.
Sine Qua Non has its own winemaking facility in Ventura, California not far from the Santa Barbara vineyards where the fruit is sourced from. In the last few years Manfred and his wife, Elaine, have begun creating their own vineyards dedicated to Rhone varietals. Their winemaking philosophy is to work in very small batches, gravity flow, natural yeasts (unless a fermentation problem is anticipated), long lees aging for the whites and repeated racking for the reds to open them up. This is a modified explanation of a very dedicated and artistic approach to winemaking. The wines are simultaneously very rich and elegant, superbly balanced and thoroughly harmonious with food, never overwhelming.