This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 18, 2013.
Greg Urmini and Christina Ivancich’s love story has been all wine and roses from the start.
Ivancich says Urmini, a winemaker and co-owner of G.Reedy Wines in Healdsburg, frequently surprises her with a glass of new wine to taste and a vase of fresh flowers he’s clipped from their garden. But the night they met, it was Ivancich who surprised Urmini at a bar in the Marina.
In February 2010, Ivancich, now 29, was out with her girlfriends enjoying margaritas and a rock cover band at their “go-to Saturday night place” – the now-closed La Barca on Lombard Street. Toward the end of the night, as the bar was clearing out, she glimpsed a group of men, including “a guy in a white sweater who was drop-dead gorgeous.”
Ivancich, a fifth-grade teacher at a Catholic school, told her friends that she was “calling dibs” on the man. She took a gulp of her margarita for “liquid courage,” and then walked past him, making eye contact on her way to the bathroom. When she came out, she grabbed his hand and said, “I hope you like to dance.”
Urmini agreed because “the music was good that night,” but after a few minutes, he was no longer thinking about the music.
“After staring at each other for a little bit and talking, it just clicked,” he said. “I could have talked to her all night.”
In fact, they almost did. They stayed together until last call at the bar, and Ivancich agreed to go back to Urmini’s place for – what else – a glass of wine. They talked until 3 a.m., discovering that their fathers went to the same Catholic high school in San Francisco, their aunts and uncles knew each other, and Ivancich went to the same high school that Urmini’s mother graduated from years earlier.
Ivancich points out that “nothing scandalous” happened that night, and they didn’t see each other the following weekend because Urmini was away at a bachelor party. Still, Ivancich took his late-night “drunk dial” as a sign that he was very interested in her. The following weekend, she cooked him dinner.
It was a big deal for Urmini, who learned to cook from his Italian father and other relatives and usually prefers to be the one in the kitchen. “I never thought I’d find someone who could cook better than me,” he said.
Within three weeks of dating, Ivancich said, their friends were sick of them. “We were so PDA,” she said. “They couldn’t believe this happened so quickly.”
By the fall of 2011, Ivancich agreed to leave her beloved San Francisco and join Urmini in Santa Rosa, where he and his business partner, Ross Reedy, were operating G.Reedy Wines – a name they came up with by combining the G in Greg with Reedy and also because “we’re greedy for the good things in life.”
Ten days before Christmas, Urmini asked Ivancich’s parents for her hand, and then swore her mom to secrecy. “They talk to each other two, three times a day,” Urmini said. “I was shocked she kept the secret.”
Ivancich said she thought a ring might be in the bottom of her stocking on Christmas morning, and she was a little disappointed to find a Sur La Table gift card there instead.
The couple went to Ivancich’s aunt’s house for Christmas dinner, and Urmini said that’s when his nerves started to kick in.
“I thought he was acting strange,” Ivancich said. “He only ate one plate at dinner!”
After dinner, the family exchanged gifts and when they were done, Ivancich’s 4-year-old niece approached her with one more present. “This is from Uncle Greg.”
“She didn’t even open it, she just started crying,” Urmini said.
“My family was taking photos and video, and my parents were hugging,” Ivancich remembers. “Then Greg got on one knee. All I could think was ‘Oh my gosh, this is actually happening!’ ” All she could say – Urmini remembers clearly – was “Are you f- kidding me?”
Ivancich was finally able to respond with a yes and a kiss, and then she opened the small package to reveal a vintage engagement ring from the 1920s.
The couple wed at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in San Francisco with family, friends and many of Ivancich’s fifth-graders in attendance. They then celebrated with a family-style Italian dinner at the Italian Athletic Club – the place where Urmini’s grandmother met her second husband and had her wedding reception years earlier.
Instead of flowers on the reception tables, they decorated with potted herbs Urmini’s father grew and apple blossoms picked from Sebastopol, Urmini’s hometown. And instead of cake, they served cookies and biscotti from Dianda’s Italian American Pastry – one of their favorite spots in the Mission.
The glasses guests raised for their toasts were filled with a G.Reedy Cabernet as well as the first Chardonnay Urmini and Reedy ever produced. They created it with the wedding in mind, and Ivancich helped design the label. The name of the new wine: Amore.