Wine connoisseurs, in coupling, discover the perfect blend

Anthony Zraly was signing documents on the first day of his sales job at T. Edward Wines and Spirits in Manhattan in January 2019 when he noticed David Keith Henderson sitting at a nearby desk. Hoping to catch the attention of Mr. Henderson, who goes by the name Keith, Mr. Zraly began to speak loudly about his interests, including his affinity for long trail runs.

It worked. Mr Henderson, who then worked in company operations, said he “felt a gravitational pull” towards Mr Zraly while listening to him. They quickly began to communicate their attraction to each other through stolen looks at the office.

Two months later, in March, the couple reunited at a business event at the Waverly Inn in the West Village. “Everyone started to disperse, and it was just the two of us left,” Mr Henderson said. “None of us were ready to go home that night.” Before it ended, he added, “we had our first kiss right down the street.”

Both say that kick started their courtship, which their employer had no directive against.

On early dates, the two bonded over a shared passion for wine, food, and European house music; both are fans of German DJ Christian Löffler. Mr. Henderson, who is from Tucson, Arizona, said he had never met anyone who rivaled his knowledge of dance music like Mr. Zraly, who grew up in New Paltz, NY; his father, Kevin Zraly, started the Windows on the World Wine School.

They officially became a couple in June 2019, when Mr. Zraly asked Mr. Henderson to be his boyfriend after surprising Mr. Henderson with Cameo messages from some stars of Bravo’s reality show “Below Deck. “as a birthday present.

As their relationship progressed, they took weekends off to visit Mr. Zraly’s family in New Paltz and other parts of the Hudson Valley. On one memorable date, Mr. Henderson paired vintage Champagne with take-out fried chicken; on another, Mr. Zraly made his family’s Sunday sauce recipe.

After the pandemic hit in 2020, the couple moved in together, into their current apartment in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Mr. Zraly, 30, a graduate of St. Andrews in Scotland, is now head of business development at T. Edward Wines and Spirits. Mr. Henderson, 33, is the vice president of operations for the Perfect Wellness Group, which designs and equips residential and commercial spas, in Manhattan.

Moving in together, Mr Henderson said, “was a crash course in getting to know each other on a deeper level”. Their first days living under the same roof were spent preparing elaborate dinners with wine pairings, exploring their new region and dancing to the sets that DJ Fleetmac Wood would play virtually on Fridays during the pandemic.

Less than a year later, in January 2021, they got engaged at a dinner party for two Mr. Zraly hosted on the rooftop of the now-closed NoMad Hotel in Manhattan. After opening bottles of 1991 and 1988 Bordeaux – chosen to commemorate their birth years – Mr Zraly dropped two jewelry boxes on the table. Each contained a platinum Cartier Love ring.

“I will never forget that moment,” Mr. Henderson said. “I was hyperventilating. I remember asking, ‘Is that when I say yes?’

They were married on July 5 at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau by New York City Clerk’s Office staff member Madeline Plasencia. Mr. Zraly’s mother, Ana Fabiano, was the only guest. Afterwards, the couple celebrated with an intimate lunch at Balthazar Restaurant in SoHo.

The next day, they left for a bachelor party in Ibiza, Spain. Then came a three-day wedding celebration at Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a winery and hotel in Elciego, part of Spain’s Rioja wine region.

The festivities, which included a pub crawl, a visit to the region’s Vivanco Wine Culture Museum and a white-robed welcome party, culminated in a July 16 wedding celebration at the hotel. Harrison Zraly, Mr Zraly’s younger brother, led the couple in a ceremony in front of 120 guests, who then enjoyed a six-course dinner and danced to tunes spun by DJ Fleetmac Wood.

In a surprise for the couple, their favorite champagne house, Billecart-Salmon, sent jeroboams of wine for the occasion. The newlyweds made good use of it.

“We ended our wedding by slashing a bottle of Billecart-Salmon brut rosé in the vines – an explosive cork noise on the vines that symbolically showed us that we were embarking on this journey of life together,” Mr. Zraly.

Elisha A. Tilghman