Dr. Jan Krupp

The Fearless Visionary

He saw what no one else could see: A viable vineyard amid one of the most formidable terrains in the Napa Valley. Dr. Jan Krupp is a former internist who sold his practice in 1998 to pursue his dream of creating a great vineyard to rival that of Chateau Margaux and Ridge Montebello. He has been systematically planning the site and working the land ever since. He took his scientific background and added to it with a wealth of vineyard-specific wisdom from consultants, viticulturists, and winemakers to transform Stagecoach’s formidable terroir into a world-renowned vineyard.

“I founded Stagecoach to become a world-renowned vineyard.

My goal is to complete that task. And I’m proud that, in the process, Stagecoach has played such a crucial role in the success of so many great wineries.”

Like many winemakers, Jan’s viticultural career began at home. For nearly two decades, Jan and his home winemaking partners scoured the wine country seeking out the best possible fruit for their own award-winning vintages. “I eventually learned what most winemakers do,” he says. “Wine can decline from inattentive winemaking, but can never rise above its foundation in the vineyard.”

“Clearly,” says Chris Howell, Winemaker and General manager for Cain Cellars, “this is one doctor who was able to apply the same analytical skills, inquisitiveness, and native intelligence that were part of his success in medicine to a quite different – but possibly related in terms of life sciences – set of problems in his vineyard.”

With family support and carefully distilled advice from many great Napa viticulturists, Jan planted a massive vineyard with cutting-edge rootstocks, clones, and techniques. “Once I saw the property, I started hiring the smartest farmers, the best professionals, and the consensus was this land was wonderful,” he says.

Jean Hoefliger, Winemaker and General Manager of Alpha Omega Winery, credits Jan with a sense of vision and craft that surpasses many professional winegrowers. About the first time he saw the property, Hoefliger offers three words: “Beauty, diversity, potential.”

The project was not without its setbacks. Jan cites three events that, at the time, seemed destined to doom the future of Stagecoach. First, when an internationally renowned geologist recommended five test wells that initially failed to find water. Second, when some of the 26 neighbors needed to grant mutual easements to access the property declined to cooperate. And finally, when the project’s trusty bulldozer was torched by vandals. At the end of the day, Krupp’s passion and perseverance outlasted the constant obstacles.

“Jan was a pioneer with a vision of something that had a great potential and that required true dedication,” says Hoefliger. “But the only way for a pioneer to succeed is with effort and time, and Jan was committed to doing that. He is a very intelligent individual with a true knowledge of business and the vineyard and he has dedicated his life to growing grapes on Atlas Peak.”