A physician with a green thumb and a passion for great wine, Jan Krupp bought his Napa Valley property in 1991. Four years later, his brother Bart joined him in creating two vineyards out of what was once considered wilderness. Today, the vines produce small quantities of fruit sought after by some of the valley’s most iconic wineries, some of which goes into Krupp Brothers own handcrafted wines.
Here, we ask Jan all about how he started making wine, a typical day at work, and his favorite food pairings for his wines.
Tell us the story of how your winery was founded. Who are the Krupp brothers and how did they get started?
I started as a physician. My professor during my medical training at Stanford taught me how to save critically ill people and how to make great wine. After 17 years as a hobby winemaker, I bought 41 acres in the Atlas Peak part of Napa and planted those acres to Cabernet and Merlot.
Four years later wanting to create more vineyards I enlisted the help of my brother Bart Krupp, a successful New Jersey businessman. Between 1995 and 2000 we planted over 500 acres of grapes stretching from Pitchard Hill to Atlas Peak. We named this vineyard Stagecoach Vineyards and hoped to grow grapes as good as the ones that go into Chateau Margaux and Ridge Montebello.
In 1999, with most of the vineyard development done, Bart and I decided to start Krupp Brothers with the goal of showcasing the quality of our fruit and creating delicious, age-worthy wine.
What’s unique about the vineyards and wines? Can you describe the wines?
The wines are unique because they come from a mountain vineyard in one of the best areas in the world to create great wine. The fruit is all owned and farmed by us, and we select only 5% of the fruit from our vineyards. The rest goes to 80 other wineries.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy your wines? With what foods?
MY favorite way to enjoy our wines is with food. I love our Cabernets with steak and our Chardonnay with halibut and Carmody cheese. Our Syrah goes great with lamb, Indian food and spicy Italian dishes.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
My typical work day begins with several hours in the vineyard, conferring with my vineyard manager on how to farm our many blocks and how to solve vineyard problems. Following this I spend time in the office with bills, reports, and results of tests. Then I am often back in the vineyard. Sometimes I confer with Bart, who works in New Jersey, about how to solve business challenges. Some days I venture to the winery to create our blends, sample wine in barrel, or follow our fermentation.
What do you love most about working with wine?
I love the creativity of working with wine as well as the creation of it from the ground up.