Born and raised in Queens, New York, 2011 New York Rising Star Restaurateur Joe Campanale's love of wine is appropriately local (if slightly upstate). When Campanale took his first sip of local ice wine at New York’s Finger Lakes, the 13 year-old fell in love with the beverage that would come to define his career. And when his mother was injured in a car accident not long after, Campanale began cooking for her, an experience that taught him the nurturing properties of food and the fundamental humanity of hospitality.
As a student of NYU, Campanale was immediately more interested in the culinary vitality of New York City than his degree. After an internship at Union Square Café during his sophomore year (Campanale talked his way into it to satisfy a reporting requirement), he began immersing himself in his Food Studies program, learning about oenology, food service, food history, and anything else his professors could teach him. What they couldn’t teach, Campanale taught himself, in part during studies abroad in Madrid (where he grew fond of Sherry) and Florence (where he visited vineyards on an almost weekly basis).
Back in the States, Campanale got a job at Italian Wine Merchants and the International Wine Cellar, eventually earning a Master of Arts in Food Studies and sommelier job at Mario Batali’s Babbo. In October 2007, Campanale finally took the hospitality reins, opening intimate West Village restaurant Dell'Anima, where he continues to serve as sommelier. Next came L'Artusi, where Campanale added a number of Italian microbrews and signature cocktails, and later intimate wine bar Anfora. Campanale has written about wine for various media outlets, such as The Beverage Media Group, SeriousEats.com, and Debonair Magazine. This fall, Campanale plans to expand his already burgeoning empire, opening a 200-seat L’Apicio with partner Gabe Thompson.