Sunday, September 17, 2006


No Chuppah?

ELEVEN years ago, Susan Lynn Wine [Jewish?] and Robert Asa Ransom III had a bubbly first meeting. Literally. Their unorthodox introduction was at a gathering in Ms. Wine’s hot tub on her verdant property in New Paltz, N.Y. But when they were married there, under a grove of tall, slender ash trees on Aug. 25, an overcast Friday evening, the ceremony was steeped in tradition, many traditions.

Ms. Wine wore a butter-color dress to match the yellow roses in her hair. Mr. Ransom wore khakis and a yellow linen shirt. Their guests formed a circle, which the couple entered as they approached the pond-side lawn, which was the site of the ceremony. They honored Freya, the Norse goddess of love, by marrying on a Friday and chose late August for the early harvest season. They were handfast, that is, their wrists were bound with a cord by the Rev. Puja Thomson, a minister of the Healing Light Center Church, reflecting the ancient tradition of “tying the knot.’’

After they exchanged vows they jumped the broom in the African-American tradition and smashed a glass in the Hebrew tradition, they slipped on their rings and sipped mead, a honey wine made by the bride’s daughter and matron of honor, Winifred Abramson.

“You get older, you get wiser,” Ms. Wine said, explaining her multitraditional wedding. “You realize that life is about nature and has its own organization and not some political imprint.’’

“People in the wine business are very romantic,’’ said one guest, Phyllis Feder, the owner of Clinton Vineyards in Clinton Corners, N.Y. “There are people here who came to celebrate, to witness them today. This binds more than just two people.”

Ms. Wine, 60, and her former husband, Barry Wine, were the owners of the Quilted Giraffe, the innovative Upper East Side restaurant, which closed in 1992. Mr. Ransom, 47, is a vintner, who founded Rivendell Winery in 1986 with his brothers and late father, John Ransom.

At their first meeting, Ms. Wine, who is keeping her name, and Mr. Ransom were both experiencing failed first marriages. She was ending hers after 26 years. His seven-year marriage was foundering, and he was the father of two young children, then 2 and 4.

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