Skip to main content

Jen McNeeley and Jamie Drummond with their son.

Becca Lemire

When these two met, he was one of Toronto's most esteemed sommeliers and she was newly sober – a pairing that may seem illogical to some. But six years and a baby later, they're making it work.

Who: Jen McNeeley, 38, writer and founder of She Does the City blog. Jamie Drummond, 46, sommelier and wine consultant.

Relationship status: Common-law partners since 2013, parents.

Story continues below advertisement

Location: Beaconsfield Village, Toronto.

How they met …

Jen: We were both in relationships when we first met, but I remember thinking he was really charming. We would run into each other at industry events. Jamie once sent me a Facebook message asking me to meet him in the park for a glass of rose. I was still married. And sober.

Jamie: But I didn't know that.

Jen: Later I saw him at a restaurant opening. He was telling stories about the vibrant single life. I told him I was happy to hear it. My marriage had just ended.

Jamie: And then I said, "Well, actually, it's completely soul-crushing." For all the bravado, I'm a relationship person. This was around the holidays. I went home to Scotland, and was just miserable.

Jen: I remember being in my backyard that Christmas Eve, chain-smoking and thinking life is bad. I reached out to Jamie the next week.

Story continues below advertisement

Jamie: It was Jan. 2. Out of the blue, I get a Facebook message.

Jen: It said, "You seem fun and open-minded. Would you be interested in coming over for a slow dance?"

Figuring it out …

Jen: Very early on, Jamie invited me on a first-class trip to anywhere in Europe, which he had won as part of a wine competition. I remember telling my friends, "We haven't even hooked up yet and this guy has invited me on a dream vacation." I told him that I might not make the best travel companion because I had just finished my first year of sobriety.

Jamie: And then Jen went away to a wedding with her mom, and I went to the library and checked out every book I could find about addiction. I think maybe both of us saw it as a challenge.

Jen: Jamie has a lot to do with my ongoing sobriety and recovery. He helped me just be comfortable and okay with it. In past relationships, I would drink to avoid confrontation. Jamie and I tend to face issues head-on.

Story continues below advertisement

Making it work …

Jen: Figuring out our situation has been trial and error.

Jamie: There are certain things that will go down in history as being "a bad idea." Like the time when the Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration sent me a case of wine for Chardonnay Day. I had a bunch of industry people over to our house. Jen was away.

Jen: I was at an AA meeting! I got home and there were a bunch of men standing around our living room singing, "Chardonnay, chardonnay, chardonnay."

Jamie: I do try to be respectful. I'm incredibly proud of Jen.

Jen: And I try to be respectful of Jamie's profession. There are times when I wish we could have a drink together. Sometimes I think maybe in 20 years when our son is grown up and we're on a vineyard in France. Maybe then I'll give it a shot. I don't know if I ever would, but the fantasy gives me a little breathing room.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter