Couple on a Date

I first met the man I would eventually marry when I was a freshman in high school. Back then I just saw him as one of my brother’s best friends. Years later, I came to think of him as “the one” after a fateful night at a little wine bar is Lancaster, PA . . . in the middle of a hurricane.

He had just flown in from London, when Hurricane Sandy brutally hit the East Coast. He had come to see his family and spend time in his hometown. Part of that visit involved meeting up with his old friend’s sister who he had kept in touch with over the years since high school.

The thought of seeing someone I had known for many years is always exciting for me. I love hearing about their life, sharing experiences and reminiscing. However, this time, there was a major hurricane brewing. The thought of canceling crossed my mind multiple times as I got ready with the Weather Channel’s warnings playing in the background.

Get the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.

The plan was to meet at a little wine bar in downtown Lancaster. I had decided this was the best place to go with a gentleman I had always considered one of the classiest I had ever met. Wine I thought, who doesn’t love wine? So the location and time was set. All I had to do was drive into the still developing storm where the wine was waiting to help us seal our fate.

When I arrived I saw him sitting through the window and was surprised by how handsome I thought he looked. Keep in mind, I had seen him many other times in my life, but he looked different to me through the rain and the dim lighting of the wine bar. We exchanged kisses on both cheeks and I felt a bolt of electricity go down my side. Surely, this was due to all the ions flying around as the raging storm was gaining speed, right?

We asked the bartender what he suggested we order. “Will it be red or white?” he inquired. Hmm, I had to stop and think. After the bolt of energy from our greeting I decided on red. Red is the color of passion and red we would drink slower, allowing us to savor the hour spent in each other’s company. So the bartender stepped away and came back with two of the largest glasses of red wine I have ever seen. It looked as though he had just emptied two fishbowls to then refill with burgundy liquid. We laughed nervously and discussed how long it would take to finish such a huge glass. “Take your time,” the bartender explained. “Good wine is meant to be enjoyed.” True, but didn’t he notice there was a hurricane going on outside? I should have just suggested a beer at the local dive. One hour in and out.

That glass took at least 3 hours, and I have never enjoyed myself more in someone’s company. Leaving that night and driving back into the hurricane no longer seemed dangerous or foolish. I felt as though the decision to meet up at a little empty wine bar in the middle of one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit the East Coast was the best choice I had ever made. That glass of red wine would be one of the first we would share, but certainly not the last.

Tessa Austin is an avid wine consumer who recently relocated to Brooklyn Heights from London. She lives with her husband and feline companion Niven.

Header image via