Going Hammer and Tongs

black and white image of a wine cellar

The Hudson Valley is loaded with boutiques—many of them dripping local flavor and craftsmanship. It would shock few to learn of a quaint new shop specializing in Hudson Valley wines. 

Blacksmith Fine Wines in Cold Spring, however, presents the shocking opposite. Within and underneath a signless corner building a few blocks from the action on Main Street (technically in Nelsonville), rests one of the highest concentrations of aged fine wine on earth. Burgundy and Bordeaux, Rhône Valley and Piedmont, Napa and Champagne—the rare and collectible gang is all here. A wine geek stumbling upon the unmarked shop would surely be asking, “Why here?”

But it makes sense. Fine wine is crafted—it is grown and fermented and blended in a conscious way not unlike the other tangible/edible/potable splurges that find their boutique-y spotlight in Cold Spring (or Hudson or Chatham, for that matter). And like those other shops, the collection at Blacksmith is selected for special qualities. With all due respect to the local viticulture, the greatest wines in the world have traditionally come from Europe, and Blacksmith Wines is as artisanally powered and as keenly curated as any art, jewelry, or antique atelier in town.

Proprietor Mark Mancinelli explains: “We pursue the best vintages, by the most reliable producers, from the best regions of the world.” After starting in a 300-square-foot space in 2017 at another Nelsonville address, Mancinelli relocated in 2018 to the H.D. Champlin & Sons Horseshoeing and Wagonmaking building, built in 1858. Vestiges of iron-smithing done on the premises made the name a no brainer. And the 1,800-square-foot ground floor is complemented by a basement—whose cool, damp conditions proved ideal for storing wine. The space was gutted, expanded and reinforced; it now features wall-to-wall racks by region and future plans include a dedicated tasting area. 

Two Heads Better Than One 

Building inventory for the store, a gradual process, took a huge leap after Mancinelli met Kristie Petrullo Campbell, a recent resident who had moved upriver from Westchester County, where her chef husband operates Campbell Meats in Dobbs Ferry. Campbell’s specialty was consulting for restaurants and private wine collectors—buying, selling and appraising cellars. Fittingly enough, she was checking out Mancinelli on behalf of a client who wanted her approval of a wine he was selling. The wine—a 1974 Gaja Barbaresco—was approved—and then some. Having discovered both their proximity and complementary expertise, Mancinelli and Campbell teamed up in 2019. 

Campbell’s background and connections added a palpable dynamic to the shop. The wine is moving, the inventory fluid, and the shop is hitting stride; just past the shabby chic front of the house, a temperature-controlled, glassed-in vault is chock full of racked bottles and prized “OWCs” (that’s trade talk for original wood cases). 

Kristie Petrullo Campbell at work.

Given America’s maturing wine culture, it follows that Blacksmith is attracting wine-savvy clientele—both sellers and buyers—from across the country. But happily, those who find themselves in Cold Spring can take advantage of the shop’s unique confluence of offbeat architecture, eclectic inventory, and customized expertise. Enthusiasts who drop in will find the partners ready to discuss wine from practically any angle, and more than willing to steer people in directions that fit their personal tastes.

Blacksmith Fine Wines | @blacksmithfinewines
Kristie Petrullo Campbell | @kpc_wine
Campbell Meats | @campbellmeats

This story was originally published in April of 2020.