Gibbston Valley Wines celebrates diversity with sparkling bubbles

Media release from Gay Ski Week QT Renowned Queenstown winery Gibbston Valley Wines is adding some real sparkle to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Winter Pride event. Wine lovers attending Gay Ski Week QT’s first ever Long Lunch event at the winery on September 6 will be treated to flutes of the winery’s limited release vintages…

The complimentary tasting, hosted by winemaker Matt Swirtz, will be a special start to a relaxed lunch at the famous Central Otago winery.

Winemaker Christopher Keys said the 2011 creation was made with “real care and patience”.

“With no time pressure to release the wine, the bottles have benefited from extended maturation which was critical in setting the quality,” he said.

“The wines are very gently pressed, have barrel fermentation, then 56 months in bottle. It’s produced with the best fruit, some very gentle winemaking, and a whole lot of time.

“We can’t wait for our LGBTQI guests to experience the richness, elegance and texture of our latest vintage Rosé and Blanc de Blanc Méthode Traditionelle.”

Hundreds of gay men and women are set to converge on Queenstown between September 2 and September 9 2017 to attend Gay Ski Week QT’s week-long festival, jam-packed with parties, cabarets, spring skiing, karaoke and much more.

Gay Ski Week QT Organiser Sally Whitewoods said Gibbston Valley Wines had become a pivotal supporter of the event.

“Gibbston Valley’s well-established and ever-growing brand is a perfect fit for us and we’re delighted to have worked in partnership with them for four years,” she said.

“Our event is set to be even bigger and better this year, and it’s exciting this year to have a specific focus on our region’s award-winning food and wine.

“The lunch is the perfect opportunity to take a mid-week break away from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown and I’m confident it will become a regular event on the GSWQT calendar.

“I’m sure these gorgeous bubbles will add just the right amount of sparkle to a long, lazy spring afternoon of superb food and stunning wines.”

Renowned as one of the finest dining experiences in the Queenstown region, Gibbston Valley Restaurant’s Central Otago wine and food experience features seasonal selections that match the freshest ingredients with award-winning wines.

Tickets for the lunch start from $135 per person including Mediterranean-inspired dishes and a glass of non-vintage bubbles on arrival. To book go to

Event tickets are available from the Gay Ski Week QT website and up-to-the-minute news can be found online at

Photo caption:

1/ Enjoy one of Central Otago’s finest wine and food experiences at Gay Ski Week QT

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Queenstown’s Five Mile retail centre “goes from strength to strength” with new retailers open and bus service coming soon

Media Release from Five Mile Retail and Business Centre Queenstown’s newest and most exciting retail and business centre is going from strength to strength with the addition of new retailers and increased levels of business activity. The recent New Zealand school holidays saw a marked increase in traffic to Five Mile, an expanding retail centre…

Family clothing chain Postie Plus also opened at Five Mile over the holidays, offering its full range of women’s, men’s, children and beauty ranges, as well as school clothing and accessories.

At the other end of the spending spectrum, a full display suite for Remarkables Residences, a range of three to five-bedroom multi-storey townhouses, recently opened at Five Mile.

The homes will be built just minutes away from Five Mile in the expanding Frankton Flats zone. To cater for interest in the development, the display suite is open 10am to 4pm daily with local realtors Sheryl Williams and Mark Martin from Bayleys Queenstown available to meet potential buyers.

This week, American-based specialist gaming store EB Games is to open at Five Mile, bringing its unique brand of gamers pop culture to Queenstown for the first time.

EB Games and Zing Pop Culture Operations Manager Karl Pearson said he was thrilled to bring the store to Queenstown.

As the centre expands, it has welcomed news of a new public bus service to and from Five Mile which will enable visitors and locals to visit more frequently and at a heavily-subsidised price.

The proposed new service will be operated by the Queenstown Lakes District and Otago regional councils and is expected to start this spring. Buses will run every 15 to 30 minutes in peak times and an introductory $2 fare is to be trialled across all zones for GoCard users and a free transfer within 30 minutes.

For the first time, Five Mile will have its own bus stop on Grant Road, between the centre and the roundabout on State Highway 6. Route tracking is still being finalized but Five Mile is seen as “key” to the network as it sits on an arterial link within the Queenstown district. Three of the four routes are proposed to come via Five Mile.

Five Mile Centre Manager Eric Nauta said the bus service would be very welcome as the centre had been “choc-a-bloc” since the school holidays.

“The centre’s now a hive of activity with outdoor parking at a premium over peak periods, although the hundreds of free, fully lit and warm underground car parks are something of a ‘locals hack’ for those in the know.

“We’ve certainly noticed that ever since Dominoes opened there’s been a stream of people venturing into other businesses while they wait for their pizzas!”

Anchor tenants The Warehouse and Countdown have also helped draw visitors to the centre.

Countdown opened in stage one close to two years ago along with retail outlets previously unseen in Queenstown such as Briscoes, Rebel Sports, Warehouse Stationary and Number One Shoes. Countdown is open from 7am to 10pm daily, while the country’s largest retail giant The Warehouse, open until midnight daily, opened at the end of March.

The Warehouse opened with a new store that was 25% bigger than its previous location, offering customers a wider range of goods and services, improved flexibility and longer opening hours.

Five Mile currently has 31 retail outlets and nine office-based businesses, and continues to expand.

Businesses are as diverse as insurance giant AMI, hairdressers Hair On Five Mile, the Five Mile Pharmacy, Café Society, Hikari Sushi, Helloworld, Noel Leeming and the recently-expanded Bed, Bath & Beyond.

For locals and workers at Five Mile there’s the convenience of a childcare centre, a health store and juice bar for those keeping fit and well, two physiotherapists, laundromat, dry cleaner and even a nail bar.

“Five Mile really does have something for everyone,” said Mr Nauta. “It’s an enjoyable and relaxed shopping experience, centrally located and with over 1000 free car parks, a true ‘one-stop-shop’ for locals and visitors.

“The good news is that it continues to expand with more outlets opening and a further development stage expected to start later this year.”

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Crowne Plaza Christchurch marks opening with official launch event

Media Release from Crowne Plaza Christchurch Paying homage to the past while celebrating the future was the theme of Crowne Plaza Christchurch’s opening event. More than 100 guests celebrated at the launch party which acknowledged the hotel’s history while looking forward to the resurgence of the “city of opportunity”. Guest speakers included the Hon Nicky…

They were joined by Alan Watts, InterContinental Hotels Group Chief Operating Officer for Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and building co-owner Shane Le Compte of local investment and development company MC Christchurch Holdings.

The scene was set as a Victorian-style paperboy greeted guests at the hotel door before making their way up to Market Place restaurant and bar. The hotel sits on the site of Christchurch’s first hotel, the Golden Fleece, established in 1851.

Guests were treated to champagne and canapés on arrival, followed by dishes flowing throughout the night from the Market Place fishmonger, butcher, cheesemonger and patisserie stations mirroring the Market Place of old – known to Cantabrians today as Victoria Square.

COO Alan Watts, who started his hotel career in Christchurch, said the re-opening of Crowne Plaza was among a number of milestones to get Christchurch back on the map and he had wanted to celebrate with the city.

“I felt a little bit emotional seeing the Crowne Plaza signage on this building,” he told guests. “General Manager Reinier Eulink and his team have done a stunning job in getting this hotel open and operating to the standard we see today.

“I think it’s going to be as good and as much of a landmark as the former Crowne Plaza, where I started my career. We’ll open 20-something hotels this year, and none more important than this one.”

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the city had long been known as New Zealand’s Garden City and the experience of the past seven years had enabled it to re-imagine itself as a city of opportunity.

“Christchurch is a place where anything is possible and you feel that in this building,” she said.

Building co-owner Shane Le Compte, attending the launch with his family, simply said “welcome to our place”.

“We’re returning an iconic Christchurch landmark to the city,” he said.

MP Nicky Wagner said it had been a “privilege” to listen to the wisdom and passion of everyone involved with the hotel project.

“It’s a beautiful refurbishment and re-purposing, and it’s full of energy,” she said.

“It’s an important milestone for Christchurch to open a new hotel and welcome an international brand. We’re delighted that you’ve brought us 204 extra beds because we need them!

“Thanks to Crowne Plaza and thanks to Shane and your team for creating this building that’s good for Christchurch, good for Canterbury and good for New Zealand.”

The new Crowne Plaza Christchurch is situated on the corner of Colombo and Armagh streets opposite Victoria Square.

Picture caption:

1/ Celebrating the launch of Crowne Plaza Christchurch were (L to R) IHG Area General Manager NZ Tim Pollock, IHG Australasia and Japan COO Karin Sheppard, General Manager Reinier Eulink and Alan Watts, IHG COO for Asia, Middle East and Africa

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Queenstown property renowned as the ‘binocular house’ picks up top building awards

Media Release from Bennie Builders A house renowned in Queenstown as “that binocular house with the large numbers” has made a statement of a different kind after winning a top regional building award. The three-level duplex in Queenstown’s Hallenstein Street – looking down over the town centre, towards Lake Wakatipu and the mountains beyond –…

Bennie Builders features the husband-and-wife team of registered Master Builder and Level Two licensed building practitioner James Bennie, and practicing solicitor Mia Bennie.

The architecturally-designed ‘lock up and leave’ apartments offer those staying at the property a feeling of sophisticated solitude, even though they are just a stone’s throw from the buzzing town centre.

Features in the open plan interior are a delightful surprise, including tongue and groove ceilings, honed block work and polished concrete floors.

Director James has 17 years’ experience in the building trade and has worked on large commercial projects and residential builds in Queenstown for 13 years’.

Director Mia specialises in the company’s resource management and consent processes including procurement on land purchases for spec builds.

James said the award meant a lot for the company as it recognised the “hard work of his team”.

“Master Builders House of the Year is a longstanding, established and tough competition, and it’s also great recognition for the client that Bennie Builders has delivered an award-winning product,” he said.

“It’s technically a very difficult build made more demanding with the tight and busy location.

“There are many bespoke elements of the steel and timber finishings which have been handcrafted specially for their spaces.

“The building process involved many changes as the property went up. Our clients wanted to build a property that reflected how they lived. Our aim was to manage our subcontractors and respond to those changes and as quickly and effectively as possible to ensure client desires were met.”

Since 2015, the company has received three Master Builders awards.

Picture caption:

1/ Peering out over Lake Wakatipu like a pair of cedar-clad binoculars – the award-winning home from Bennie Builders of Arrowtown

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