You are unlikely to taste wines quite like Sine Qua Non. Once likened to a set from ‘Mad Max’, the garage winery of maverick winemaker Manfred Krankl and his wife Elaine has, for the last 20 years, been the source of some of California’s (if not the world’s) most exciting, coveted and collectable wines. Fruit is sourced from just 4 estate-owned vineyards spread across southern California and with the number of 100 point ratings now well into double digits Sine Qua Non has firmly established itself as one of the world’s best loved wineries.
A word on the bottles themselves. Art and wine have had a long relationship, but what Manfred and Elaine are doing at SQN is something entirely different. Each cuvee is bottled in a bespoke, distinct vessel; each bottle is then adorned with original artwork produced by Manfred. They are pieces of art themselves, thus adding to their collectability. However, as the likes of Parker, Perrotti-Brown and Galloni so often attest it is the contents of the bottle that is most compelling.
Although the operation has since moved into more luxurious surroundings in Ojai, the spirit of the former back-alley Ventura winery once dubbed the “garage d’or” remains. Sine Qua Non continues to push the envelope of what a wine is and can be.