There’s a winery just outside the small town of Yountville in Napa called Domaine Chandon. You’ve probably heard of it, if only because you can find their sparkling wines all over the country. Unsurprisingly, their tasting room is always packed, filled with visitors seeking to enjoy a glass of bubbly while seated on a patio shaded by a beautiful oak tree that’s probably a century old. Even more surprising, however, is that this particular winery is one of Joe’s and my favorite places to visit when we’re in the area. Because if you walk just beyond that patio filled with the birthday and bachelorette parties, up a small hill, and over a crest, you’re greeted to a green lawn that’s dotted with large boulders and a gorgeous prospect: the valley’s mountains in the distance; the property’s vines just below.
Over the years, one boulder in particular has become “our rock.” We escape the hoards in the tasting room and perch ourselves on this rock, which has always seemed like it was made and placed just so to fit the two of us. With countless bottles of wine, we’d sit and talk about our dreams for the future, our goals, our fears, our hopes, but above all, how all of these things involved the other person. Two Saturdays ago, on January 14, I was pleased as punch to sit atop our rock and discuss our future as a married couple. You see, the day before, Joe had proposed.
Years earlier, before we were even able to legally purchase a bottle of Domaine Chandon wine, Joe and I met while walking to a college football game. It was Labor Day weekend, 2002, and we had both started college just a few weeks prior. I won’t lie: it was not immediately apparent that this would be my future husband. But after seeing each other around the dorm which we both lived in, sitting next to each other in business classes, and eventually, going on our first date in November of that year (lunch, and it was at a Subway), we were smitten.
Nine years, two months, and nine days later, he asked me to marry him, at home, in our sun-filled living room, with no one else around. It was private, and perfect. Simple. Heartfelt. He’d spent the last month working with a Manhattan-based jeweler to personally design my engagement ring. I don’t think I can really describe how much this means to me.
Immediately after he proposed and I dried my eyes and we made a few phone calls, he whisked me off to Yountville, to beautiful dinners and champagne breakfasts, to lots of wine and walks down memory lane, and to our rock.
Which is perfect, because he is mine.