As Hurricane Sandy made landfall, many residents along the east coast of the United States were stocking up on more than just food and water.
Most shops throughout New York City were closed on Monday and even though people were advised to stay indoors, some ventured out in search of the perfect drink for the perfect storm.
"We're doing a beer tasting," said Alexis Schumacher, an entrepreneur safely tucked away in her apartment on 74th Street, as gusts of wind battered the Upper West Side of Manhattan where she lives.
After a mediocre zinfandel at a small Cuban restaurant down the block – one of the very few left open – Ms Schumacher and her boyfriend were itching for a few good bottles of wine to help them get through the storm.
But the only thing open in the afternoon was a supermarket, not the kind of place known for having a great wine selection. So, instead, the couple stocked up on a smorgasbord of brews to get them through to Wednesday.
"Right now we're drinking a bottle of Chimay Blue," Ms Schumacher said as the lights flickered in her apartment. "Then we have Leffe Blonde, a Saison du Pont, a Lagunitas pale ale, a Matilda, a sour cherry Docs Draft, and a ton of Corona Light and Bud Light.”
"I've never seen anything like this," Ward M. French III, a resident of Westport, Connecticut, said just before receiving an automated code-red alert on his phone.
Water from the adjacent Saugatuck River had begun creeping up onto his lawn at least seven hours before high tide was due at midnight.
"It's scary. The winds are awful," his wife Annette said.
© Nicholas Vaughan | Raising a glass to Hurricane Sandy above Columbus Circle in New York City
The family was enjoying a dinner of pheasant, pairing it with a 2010 Giesta Tinto followed by a 2009 Shannon Ridge Wrangler Red, which they shared with a neighbour. They hoped the hearty reds would give them sustenance to continue emptying the basement in anticipation of flooding.
The National Hurricane Centre was forecasting Sandy would be a "life-threatening storm surge" and some people believe that bold weather calls for bold wine.
Perhaps the most important ingredient for surviving Sandy is good company.
"We don't want to be holed up alone," said Thompson Plyler, a comedian who welcomed into his midtown apartment half a dozen or so storm refugees (only one of whom had actually been evacuated from his own apartment). He was "recovering" from a sip of rosé that "tasted like communion wine".
Sorting through his corner-store bounty, he counted a Jacob's Creek moscato, a Yellow Tail chardonnay, a Chateau Diana merlot and a pinot grigio from the same producer.
"The Yellow Tail chardonnay was probably one of the more expensive ones at the corner bodega," Mr Plyler said, referring to the term New Yorkers use for convenience stores.
Usually, he would buy wine only from a liquor store, but in the midst of the worst storm to hit New York City in decades he made do with what was close by and still open.
"In the urgency of the storm, I was like, there is no way I am going out. You are more concerned about duct tape and flashlights and batteries. You're getting gallons of water while you're getting wine."
But wine was still an essential item, with so many friends taking shelter at his place.
"Possibly the power is going to go out, and you don't know if you’re going to be swimming down 47th Street or holed up in the house with a bunch of people."
© Nicholas Vaughan | Customers at Fiorello's restaurant in Manhattan just before Sandy was due to make landfall
Albert Mustaj, a doorman at The Caroline, an elegant apartment block on 23rd Street, said staff at the building had been asked to stay for three days. But he was not nervous. "I come from Montenegro, I've seen worse."
Candace Ruland, a 67-year-old inhabitant of the Battery Park district, recalled that she left for Hurricane Irene last year. "I went uptown and I had a nice dinner with a lot of wine. This year, I just decided to stay," she said.
South of New York, in New Jersey's Atlantic City, there was only one place to be for diehards who hadn't evacuated as the jaws of Hurricane Sandy closed in: Ducktown Tavern and Liquors.
In a city built for partying and hedonism, where a wall of multi-storey casinos lines the beach, the modest bar was the last place you could get a drink. In fact, it was the only place open. Period.
"Ducktown's a legend," enthusiastic patron Ben Markum, 35, told AFP correspondent Sebastian Smith.
About 30 people, many of them police officers, camped out around the two long bars with beers and large plates of chicken wings and other comfort food.
The only immediate sign of Sandy, apart from blurry images of horizontal rain through the windows, was the growing number of leaks dripping through the ceiling into plastic bins.
"It's like 'Cheers' or something," Mr Markum said, referring to the eponymous bar in the long-running US television series.
Outside, the impending hurricane and a mandatory evacuation order turned the resort of 40,000 people and millions of visitors into a ghost town. Clothes shops, hotels, pawnbrokers, strip joints and every other kind of local business were closed.
The gaudy Indian elephant statues, faux Roman sculptures and Western frontier-style facades on casinos were almost invisible in the rain. Traffic lights swung wildly over flooded intersections as large pieces of debris, branches and abandoned furniture skidded across avenues.
Inside Ducktown, though, there was warmth, alcohol and the convivial atmosphere of a frontline bastion refusing to give up. Everyone had a different story.
Markum, a big man with a big personality who had moved from California, said the bar was the best place in Atlantic City to network with real locals and promote his services as a website broker.
He disregarded the state evacuation order because he has a party to organise for Halloween. "We're serious in this town when it comes to partying."
Pam Wolfe, 54, was staying on after a shift as a lab consultant at the local hospital.
"I'm happy [Ducktown] is open because we were stuck. I feel a lot better, because we didn't want to be trapped there," she said over a beer.
Dave King, 19, said the cop-friendly bar was not his typical hangout at all, but "word on the street" got around that it was open during the hurricane and he, too, wanted to get out of his house.
His reason for staying on for the hurricane with his brother? "We're survivors. I like to survive. It's a challenge to me."
Owner John Exadaktilos, 36, said Ducktown remained open because of its semi-official role in the hurricane response effort. "We have the support of the municipality to stay open to help feed the police, fire, whatever."
Asked why Ducktown defied the odds while monster casinos like Caesar's on the boardwalk did not, he said: "The casinos and everything, they have 1000 employees and they're higher up, so they would take more brunt of the wind."
He motioned to the young men working the bar and trying to control the leaks. "On the other hand, these guys could be anywhere else, but they're friends and family and they're helping. We're going to man out the storm."
© AFP / Stan Honda | Patrons wait out the hurricane at the Ducktown Tavern in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Published courtesy winesearcher.com, the world's biggest wine search engine, based in Auckland. With additional reporting from AFP.