A note from the Board of the APAA
The Board of the APAA is saddened to share the news of the passing of wine luminary Bart Krupp. Bart and his brother, Jan, developed Stagecoach Vineyard back in 1995. Their pioneering efforts factored into the creation of the Atlas Peak AVA, and their beloved Stagecoach is still the largest vineyard in the appellation. We send our sincere condolences to Jan and the entire Krupp family.
About Bart Krupp
Napa, Calif. – Bart Krupp, who along with his brother Dr. Jan Krupp founded Napa’s iconic Stagecoach Vineyard, died January 23, 2024. He was 75.
Bart and his brother Jan were newcomers to Napa Valley when a 750-acre parcel of land came up for sale in 1995. Jan had been commuting to his bustling medical practice in the East Bay and tending to some 30 acres around his home when he came across an ad on a telephone poll for a wild expanse of land he could see from his back porch. Bart lived in New Jersey, where the brothers had been raised. He had transformed the family business from a breakeven materials recycling plant to a thriving foam fabrication enterprise.
Jan and Bart were successful in their professions, but there was not much to suggest they would become pioneers in the wine industry.
Before Stagecoach would become Napa Valley’s largest and one of its most prestigious vineyards, supplying fruit to Quintessa, Paul Hobbs, Arkenstone, and Pahlmeyer, among dozens of other premier wineries, it was a harsh landscape riddled with rocks and boulders, without road access or a known water source. Established wineries snubbed the land as too rocky, too risky, and too difficult to develop. Bart, however, believed in his older brother’s vision for the property. It was an unpopular view. At that time, the Napa wine establishment referred to Jan as the “crazy doctor.”
With Bart’s financial support, they purchased the land, and work began. As partners, the brothers proved to be perfect complements. With that rare combination of being both a people and numbers person, Bart brought a business acumen that was key to sales, financial decision-making, and strategy. He facilitated relationships with investors and could anticipate the needs of vineyard employees. A born farmer, Jan would develop the land, selecting the varietals best suited for the various microclimates and conditions throughout Stagecoach, remove 1 million pounds of rock, find grape buyers and oversee increasingly larger and more complicated harvests.
The brothers purchased several adjacent parcels, growing Stagecoach to 1,300 acres, 650 of them planted.
With the vines maturing and producing outstanding quality fruit, the brothers decided to start their own label in 1999. The brand, named Krupp Brothers, would include several Cabernets, the iconic Black Bart Syrah, and wines made with varietals rarely grown in Napa, such as The Doctor, a red blend primarily made of Tempranillo, and The Bride, a Viognier.
In 2017, the brothers sold Stagecoach to Gallo. The sale gave Jan and Bart the opportunity to focus on Krupp Brothers. The Krupp Brothers Tasting Room near Oxbow Market had opened earlier in the year, and shortly after the sale, they purchased an estate, vineyard, and winery on Hardman Avenue off Silverado Trail. The beautiful Tuscan-inspired property allowed them to showcase their wine and move from a shared winemaking facility to their own. Jan would also continue to cultivate at the new estate vineyard and his home vineyard. Bart, having sold his New Jersey business, began to live part-time in Napa at the estate.
Bart’s legacy in Napa Valley is Stagecoach, a trailblazing feat of imagination, ingenuity, and courage that – through its sheer size and superior quality fruit – increased Napa Valley’s production of premier wines.
But what he will be remembered for by the many who knew him and those of us who loved him was his kindness and humility. He valued all people, seeing the good in them, and never considered himself better than anyone else.
Bart is survived by his wife of 55 years, Patricia Krupp. His brothers, Jan and Fred Krupp. His two children, Edward and Staci Krupp, and five grandchildren.
Source: Wine Business News
Read more about Bart Krupp’s life here.