Sine Qua Non—Translation: ‘Something that Cannot be Done Without’

Sine Qua Non—Translation: ‘Something that Cannot be Done Without’

A Closer Look at One of the Most Coveted Wineries Represented in Hart Davis Hart Wine Co.’s Upcoming May Auction

“I think I am beginning to understand why [Sine Qua Non’s wines] are so much greater than just about every other Syrah or Grenache-based wine in California. In short, it is talent and incredibly meticulous hard work. No one works as hard or is as maniacal about a vineyard’s viticulture and winemaking as Manfred Krankl. Take that, add in exceptional talent, humility, top-notch vineyards, and I believe I understand the fundamentals of why these wines are so special.”

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate #172, August 2007


Sine Qua Non emerged into the world of fine wines in the mid-1990s, and has since grown into one of the most coveted boutique-wineries in California. The now legendary Manfred Krankl and his wife, Elaine, started Sine Qua Non in 1994, working in California’s Santa Barbara County and south central coast regions with the help of winemaking friends at Alban, Bien Nacido, and Ojai Vineyards as well as renowned Austrian winemaker Alois Kracher. Their goal? To use Rhône varietals to produce wine that is delicious, distinctive, and ultimately indispensable to wine lovers around the world.

Their small-scale, at times eccentric approach to winemaking certainly achieves this task. Not only is production exceedingly small (around 3,500 cases annually), but the same wine is never made twice. With each vintage, the Krankls introduce new varietal compositions, labels, bottle shapes and names to their eclectic roster which reinforces SQN’s “cult” status. All of their efforts culminate in wines that are multi-dimensional, agile, and ultimately as unique as the names on their labels. Robert Parker has awarded perfect 100 point scores to 14 of Sine Qua Non’s wines over the years.

Due to the their extremely small production, Sine Qua Non’s wines are only made available on release to the lucky few individuals on the winery’s exclusive list (which can take more than five years to get on). This leaves most collectors to vie for these rare gems when they appear at auction, and has led to increasing demand over the past decade.

Hart Davis Hart is delighted to be offering over 300 lots of Sine Qua Non’s rarest wines in our upcoming auction on May 15-16. We invite you to explore these offerings, and to take advantage of this special opportunity to acquire some of California’s most unique and elusive wines.


1992 Havens Wine Cellars / Manfred Krankl Red Wine, Black and Blue
Lot 153 (1 b) $1,100-1,700
Specially made for Manfred Krankl by Michael Havens. While it doesn’t bear the Sine Qua Non name, it is the first red wine to sport the winemaking influence and label of Manfred Krankl and is exceedingly hard to find.

1994 Sine Qua Non Red Wine, Queen of Spades
Lots 505, 1254 (1 b each) $2,000-3,000
Lot 1536 (2 b) $4,000-6,000
The first Sine Qua Non wine. Only 100 cases were made. Exceptionally rare.

1995 Sine Qua Non Red Wine, Tant Pis! (produced by Krankl/Alban)
Lot 1538 (1 mag) $6,000-9,000
Dedicated to the late Jacques Reynaud of Château Rayas. Only available in magnums, of which there were less than 150 made.

1998 Sine Qua Non Syrah, Hospice du Rhône, Alban Vineyard
Lot 1550 (1 b)
A single barrel production for the Hospice du Rhône event in Paso Robles.

2000 Sine Qua Non Syrah, Heels Over Head
517, 1311 & 1558 (1 b each) $1,200-1,800
Only one experimental barrel made exclusively for The Grateful Palate. Arguably the rarest SQN red after the Queen of Spades.

SQN-Suey-BootsPasties_wOwcs_A12000 Sine Qua Non Roussanne, Suey
Lots 1556 & 2373 (2 hb (owc) each) $1,000-1,500
The first SQN to score 100 pts from Robert Parker. Only 597 half-bottles were made.

2003 Sine Qua Non The Inaugural Assortment
Lots 1573 & 2384 (Each lot contains 3 b Grenache and 3 b Syrah, in owc) $5,000-7,500
The first wines made completely from SQN’s first estate vineyard, Eleven Confessions.

2012 Sine Qua Non Chardonnay, Pearl Clutcher
Lot 401 (2 b) $2,000-3,000 & Lots 1614 & 2599 (Each 3 bs) $3,000-4,500
100% Chardonnay. Only 2 barrels made.

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Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. - 1511 W 38th Street, Chicago IL  60609 - Phone: 312.482.9996  Fax: 312.335.9096