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Krupp Brothers Family Winery - Napa Valley

93 Points, Connoisseurs’ Guide - 588 cases produced

While most wine insiders concede it is difficult to be classified a pioneer in today’s California wine industry, they are uniform in the opinion that an exception be made in the case of Krupp Brothers Winery.

Expounding that statement requires a good deal of detail and background on the principals, Dr. Jan Krupp and his brother, Bart, both of whom grew up in New Jersey.

Dr. Jan Krupp headed west to study medicine at Stanford, and soon developed a liking for good wines, a trait shared by his businessman brother. In 1991, Dr. Krupp decided to enter the wine business and purchased an unlikely parcel of land on Atlas Peak, a landmark located on Napa Valley’s eastern side. At the time, the area wasn’t exactly considered a prime Napa Valley growing area. Undeterred, Dr. Krupp began the process of clearing the virtual wilderness and carving out a working vineyard.

Four years later, he enlisted his brother into purchasing an additional 750 acres of surrounding land that was in similarly unimproved condition. The Krupp Brothers undertook a massive earth moving project that literally moved over a billion-plus pounds of rocks and earth, undoubtedly the most adventuresome undertaking in Napa Valley in many years. Hence, the applicable term of pioneering enterprise in the California wine industry.

“I believe we moved as many as 30,000 dump trucks worth of rocks and dirt,” commented Dr. Jan Krupp recently. “It was an enormous project but it all came out quite nicely.” The result was three individual vineyards that consist of about 700 planted acres. The Krupp Brothers property presently encompasses some 1,200 acres, one of the largest land tracts in the entire valley. The first release of Krupp Brothers Winery occurred in 2002, after a long history of prize-winning wines under the aegis of amateur winemaking.

“We decided to take things to a higher level,” Dr. Krupp explained. “Our fruit was then in high demand and we saw the quality of wines that were being produced. I had always wanted to have a winery of our own so we hired the best people available and started making our own wines.” Public reception and industry accolades were soon forthcoming and Krupp Brothers wines were an instant success in the ultra-premium end of the wine business. The winery soon reached the 10,000 case level and seemed headed for additional growth and expansion. Then the industry-wide recession of the past decade reared its ugly head and put an end to any prospects of immediate expansion for Krupp Brothers Winery.

“It was a blow to everyone in the wine business,” Dr. Krupp added. “We had to take our lumps just like everyone else. Luckily, we had some truly great customers who continued to buy our wines and some marvelous wineries who continued to purchase our fruit.” The latter include renowned Caymus Vineyards, close neighbor Chappellet Winery and esteemed Bordeaux producer Pahlmeyer Winery just to name a few. A total of 76 different wineries currently purchase Krupp grapes, accounting for almost 90% of the company’s total vineyard production.

Dr. Jan Krupp takes great pride in his company’s wines and intends to one day increase his total volume to 20,000 cases. He has obtained a new winery permit for that volume figure and estimates the project will take another five years to reach fruition.

In the meantime, he continues his excellent relationship with his brother Bart. “I bounce ideas off him a couple of times a week,” Krupp informed. “He is a terrific businessman and makes few mistakes when it comes to the business side of our operation.”

Krupp is also proud of his flagship growing area, called the Stagecoach Vineyard that has produced award winning fruit for many notable wineries. “When I recall what it took to make it into what it is today,” he said,” I am humbled by its continued successes.”

The doctor turned grower/vintner is also careful about the pitfalls that have caused other members of his medical profession to stumble within the intricacies of the wine industry. He has stated that he wanted to learn from the successful doctors in the business as well as from the mistakes made by other medical persons who ventured into the wine industry.

Krupp Brother Winery is well poised for the future and continues to produce masterful wines that are rated among the best in the entire world. It is easy to see why this charming and personable figure has been so successful in his efforts.

  1. Krupp
    2009 Syrah
    Stagecoach Vineyard
    Napa Valley


    93 - Connoisseurs' Guide
    id: 1133