Sanguis was founded by Matthias Pippig, a German-born Bavarian who moved to the U.S. at age 18 with dreams of becoming a professional rock-and-roll drummer.  His plans changed over time when he decided it was not all that he had imagined. He then got involved in the L.A. food scene and in time met Manfred Krankl, with whom he’d work with for several years at La Brea Bakery. Krankl moved on to launch his own wine label Sine Qua Non in the mid-90s.  Mathias too became interested in winemaking and began a journey of his own that would lead to the founding of his label, Sanguis.

Matthias did not go to oenology or viticulture school and did not receive any formal training in the craft of winemaking, yet his wines have consistently garnered outstanding scores. Matthias views scores as something that can be useful as an indicator of a winery’s quality level, but more importantly as an indicator of reliability when viewed over a longer period. As Matthias puts it, point scores should be thought of more like Michelin stars, which are earned and awarded over a period of time during which the restaurant proves itself by consistent performance. With that in mind, Matthias sees the average of all his point scores as more indicative of overall quality. Since Sanguis began producing wine in 2004 the overall average (as of 2015) is an amazing 93.4 points.

Matthias' mantra is "there are no formulas and no sequels and the only thing that is consistent is quality." Matthias believes that each wine and each vintage has a personality and therefore he bottles wines with names and labels, all of which are designed by himself, that he feels are representative of their true spirit. Matthias' descriptions of his own wine generally lack the typical flavor descriptors that you would find in most tasting notes. Descriptions tend to evoke a scene or picture that Matthias associates with each wine's personality. Notes invariably include not only food pairing suggestions but also musical pairings for a complete sensory experience of the wine.

Matthias' winery is set in Santa Barbara, an atypical urban location for a winery. True to his heritage, Matthis' winery looks more like a German master craftsman's workshop. The space, which is impeccably clean, is unbelievably small but maximized in every way for efficiency. Not a thing seems out of place, equipment all neatly arranged and tools all stored away. Barrels are neatly stacked, but any visitor will notice a quirky image and name tacked on to each one of them.

Into this tiny winery come great grapes harvested from some of the most outstanding vineyards on the Central Coast. Sanguis seeks out vineyards that are cool-climate sites generally within Santa Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley areas. Mathias contracts with each vineyard for specific rows of grapes and specifies exact farming practices to achieve the quality of grapes he desires. These special vineyards, combined with sustainably farming to low yields and optimal ripeness, along with the gentlest handling and patience in the cellar are what make Sanguis wines what they are: truly outstanding expressions of great vineyard sites.

Sanguis wines are still very small production, about 1900 cases, and very difficult to acquire. The mailing list has been closed for three years now. We are very lucky to able to offer a tiny amount of these unique wines here in Japan. Besides Mathias' love for wine, he loves all things Japanese too. He makes homemade ramen, drinks Japanese tea every day, loves Japanese gardening tools and cutlery and even orders his jeans from Japan.



Matthias Pippig
Matthias Pippig
Country America
Region California Wine
Appellation Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria Valley, Sta. Rita Hills

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