Founded in 1994 by Manfred and Elaine Krankl in Ventura, on California's Central Coast, the winery is the epitome of an artisanal, cult winery. The husband-and-wife team makes mostly Rhone-style reds and whites in very limited quantities using such grapes as Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Roussanne, and Viognier. The couple pays meticulous attention to their winemaking and uses little or no fining or filtration. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called Sine Qua Non "one of the world's most creative wineries" and one that "is turning out world-class wines of extraordinary complexity and individuality. The Krankl husband-and-wife team remains wholly dedicated to the pursuit of perfection." Sine Qua Non is also unusual in that the Krankls like to give wild, sometimes outlandish names to their wines, and they often change wine names with each vintage. They have christened their wines with such names as "The Hussy" and "In Flagrante," and the labels generally are as distinctive as the wines.
Central Coast AVA is a huge wine producing area that extends from Santa Barbara County in the south to San Francisco in the north. With more than 100,000 vineyard acres, it includes parts of six counties near the Pacific Ocean. Nearly 20 smaller AVAs lie within the Central Coast AVA. Central Coast earned appellation status in 1985. Included in the appellation are parts of the counties of Contra Costa, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. Nearly every grape varietal grown in California is grown somewhere in the Central Coast AVA, though Chardonnay accounts for nearly 50% of the entire wine grape crop.