QNews Winter Pride Day 4: Feasts from the table and of the flesh

Winter Pride Gibbston Valley Long Lunch

Follow QNews as we join our friends and neighbours at Winter Pride in Queenstown. A week of on and off-mountain festivities celebrating the LGBTIQ+ community with love, diversity, visibility, safety, and inclusion, thanks to Winter Pride ’23 and Booking.com.

With the weekend in full swing, and Winter Pride down to its last few days, it’s time to pull out all the stops – and pulled out I did! First up is possibly what I have been looking forward to the most this entire trip. The Winter Pride staple that is the Gibbston Valley Long Lunch. A shuttle bus took us all on a picturesque drive through the hills of the central Otago to one of Queenstown’s wine regions – Gibbston. Hosting us for the day will be Gibbston Valley Winery, one of Winter Pride’s longest supporters and allies. Holding the title of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in Central Otago, we went in with high expectations. In addition to being a renowned winery, Gibbston Valley is also a proud Pride Pledge supporter, committed to creating safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTTIQ+ visitors.


Gibbston Valley Wine Cave
Quick Robin, to the Wine Cave!

Wine Cave, Wine Not?

At the Sofitel Lakefront Hotel, a group of hungry, hungry homo’s met to board our bus to the vineyard. Like a school group going on an excursion, we all eagerly piled on and enjoyed a leisurely drive out of Queenstown into Gibbston. Upon arrival, our group strolled through the gorgeous countryside winery and drank in the sights. We were soon met by two large, wooden doors and two regular sized Gibbston Valley staff members. The two warmly welcomed us to the vineyard and the famous Gibbston Valley Wine Cave.

The friendly and passionate duo provided an educational introduction to the winery, the cave and their history of LGBTTIQ+ allyship and Winter Pride support. Built in 1995, The Gibbston Valley Wine Cave was to provide additional oak barrel storage for wine aging. As a bonus, due to the natural temperature and conditions created by the cave, this created an ideal environment to naturally age the wine. We stan a sustainable winery.

And “how was this marvelous Wine Cave built?” I hear you asking your phone or computer screen. By using dynamite to blast a 1400 cubic metre cave into the schist mountain. And I thought we queers were passionate about wine!

We delved into the cave, greeted by rows upon rows of more than 400 barrels of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay lining the craggy walls. Our group of eager winos barreled through the cavern to the area of the cave that had the wine we could drink. The group all sampled a Riesling, and a Rose in the cave, as well as their famous Pinot Noir out in the vineyard. The group was also offered a spittoon for our wine samplings. No surprise to literally anyone, none of us took them up on that offer.

Kita Mean Winter Pride
Kita Mean brought the house down BOOTS!

More wine, and even more food!

Once we were finished with the tastings, we then moved onto bubbles pre-lunch and snacks. Here, we were joined by none other than Drag Race Down Under Season 1 Winner, Kita Mean! The group laughed, slurped back oysters, and tore through cured meats, and we hadn’t even arrived at the main event yet!

The Long Lunch portion of today’s event was, in my humble opinion, the greatest lunch I have every enjoyed. Bottles of wine, fresh salads, baked salmon, brisket, roasted pumpkin and bite-sized cakes and macaroons for dessert. We also received a special performance by Kita Mean, lip syncing a ridiculously funny rendition of Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Once we were sufficiently wined and dined, an overly full and rowdy crew piled back onto the bus. An obnoxiously fun time was had on the bus back to Queenstown, with singing, dancing and chatting all the way. Next up, the Pride Night Ski on Coronet Peak and The Leather and Lace party in town.


Skiing in the Moonlight, everybody.

For those who didn’t attend the Gibbston Valley Long Lunch (or the few who did and were sober enough to) made their way to Coronet Peak for two events. Pride Night Ski and the Pride in the Snow party.  An evening of music, drag shows, and skiing/boarding by a full moon. For the first time ever, Winter Pride offered skiers and boarders the chance to hit the slopes at night. For those who weren’t on the mountain, down at base people joined in for the biggest Pride performance in the snow in Winter Pride herstory.

A HUGE lineup of drag performers set to sleigh in the snow, with DJ’s pumping the hits. Jimi The Kween, Nova Starr, Sashay Chante, Frothy La Frou Frou, Vollie LaVont, Mandy Moobs, Beverley Kills and host and MC Aziz Al-Sa’afin all took to the stage and put on a snow-stopping show!

Leather and Lace Party Winter Pride

Leather, Lace and a whole lotta’ ass.

An event described a “fun, hot, and inclusive event,” provided all the above in spades. It was here, at the Queenstown Memorial Hall, where a collection of men, women, and gender-non-conforming folk gathered. Drawn like a slutty moth to a flamer, everything was on display. Lingerie, harnesses, pup masks, leather jackets, and all sorts of saucy, sultry sensations invited people to live as their sexiest, lace and leather-clad life.

The music was top-f**king-notch, with a dancefloor consistently full. Live entertainment was also in abundance this evening, with drag performers and dancers to get the blood pumping. “Oozing with sex appeal” was clearly the category, and they absolutely understood the assignment.

A clear standout element of the evening was the diversity on show in the crowd. Different genders and body types all gathered together to writhe the night away. Almost as if we’re holding a sexual Pagan ritual – just with more booze and amyl.

After a day-long affair of wine and flair, it was time to sashay away to dance another day and rest up for the penultimate day of Winter Pride 2023. The final on-mountain skiing and snowboarding event, the Pride Parade Run on Cardrona Alpine Resort. Followed by one more wild party – the Propaganda Snowball. So, rest up my babies – for tomorrow, we celebrate Winter Pride the only way we know how. With a fucking rager.

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Mitch Broom

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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