Moved upstate from: Brooklyn
Hudson Valley home: Downtown Kingston
Favorite parts of upstate life:“Being that cooking is an essential element of our lifestyle, having fantastic urban farms in Kingston and access to farmers doing great work in the Hudson Valley makes our lives more enriched.”
Least favorite thing about upstate life: “If I forget something on the grocery list, I can’t walk to my corner bodega.”
From Washington, D.C., to southwestern France, to Manhattan, and on to Kingston, Michael Drapkin’s life journey has been fueled by wine. He can be found these days at Kingston Wine Co. on Broadway in Downtown Kingston’s Rondout district, clad in a traditional French serving jacket, offering education and fine libations to all comers, or at his Rondout-area home, which he shares with his wife Theresa, an artist who keeps a studio there.
Why Kingston? “A combination of factors: An endless search for the perfect bricks-and-mortar retail space in New York City led us to expand our search north,” says Drapkin. “We stumbled on Kingston, thanks to the Airbnb listing Church des Artistes [on Spring Street in the Rondout]. A desire to have more space to create, in addition to the natural resources of the Hudson Valley, solidified our decision to move.”
Both Drapkin and his wife have retail and hospitality in their blood, with family connections to a D.C. pharmacy, Brooklyn wine shop, and McGlade’s restaurants on the Jersey Shore. And the shop they have created together—with Drapkin as primary proprietor, and his wife helping out and exerting design sensibilities as needed—is winning raves for maintaining an intimate, friendly, casual feeling paired with a broad and deep expertise.
“The fascinating thing about wine is how multidisciplinary it can be,” says Drapkin. “It’s been made by man for thousands of years. It holds a symbolic place in many facets of our world cultures. We approach wine with a humble fascination of its complexity yet don’t over formalize it. Wine is a quotidian element of our dinner table. Wine can be as refined or unrefined as the consumer chooses.”
Drapkin sources his offerings from all around the world, with a strong preference for “farmers and makers who work hard to preserve and enrich their land for future generations.” He explains: “We have something to learn from the monks of France, who worked the vineyards of central Burgundy making pinot noir in the year 1200—it’s a long, rich, persistent agricultural process.”
It’s an attitude that resonates well up here, as does the couple’s collaborative spirit. “There are lots of good vibes here,” says Drapkin. “The business organization for Downtown, the Kingston Waterfront Business Association, is a great resource of support and a vehicle of collaboration. We feel a real sense of solidarity.”