In many ways, Madame Clicquot was a true heroine. Widowed at 27, she took over her late husband’s business and turned it into the now-revered champagne house we all know as Veuve Clicquot. So it would come as no surprise it was an emphatic ‘yes’ from me when given the opportunity, on behalf of Denizen, to cover the eighth edition of the three-day alpine adventure, Clicquot in the Snow, in Queenstown this year. Here’s my experience of the action as it happened.
Upon touch down at Queenstown airport, a fleet of Veuve Clicquot BMWs was waiting to take us on our first adventure. Veuve Clicquot letterboxes dotted throughout the area contained ‘Clicquot Mail’ which outlined our activities for the day. First stop, the Crown Range lookout which was a stunning setting to learn the art of sabrage (opening a Champagne bottle with a sabre knife).
Snowshoeing at the Snow Farm was to follow. The mountainous backdrop and rolling hills provided the most serene setting, and surprisingly the sport, no doubt enhanced by the location, proved to be rather therapeutic. We arrived at Central Otago’s Historic Meadow Hut to find a carefully curated Veuve Clicquot picnic waiting for us, it started to snow, creating a picture postcard setting.
Before catching the snowcat back to the car we enjoyed some Clicquot inside an igloo built by local students, a first for everyone involved. Our Clicquot BMW’s delivered us safely back to The Hilton where we freshened up and made our way to welcome drinks at the cosy polo-inspired Lodge Bar where we sat by the fire consuming canapés and Clicquot. We all headed back to the hotel for an early night in anticipation of the next day’s early start.
With first tracks and a Clicquot brunch on the itinerary for the morning, the 5.30am start was a small price to pay. Low visibility aside, we were treated to some fantastic fresh snow at Coronet Peak, the morning’s exercise was well rewarded with a lavish Clicquot champagne brunch at the Veuve Clicquot Après Ski Bar. Three glasses of Clicquot and a croissant later, we found ourselves reverting to childhood antics carousing in the man-made ice castle complete with ice slides, fountains and ice thrones.
We headed back down the mountain to allow ourselves time to get ready for the hotly anticipated Kathryn Wilson Spring/Summer 18 show. Loyal fans attended from around the country to enjoy the energetic runway show at Jack’s Point. Opening with a bang, iconic NZ singer and jewellery designer Boh Runga belted out a snare drum solo under the spotlight.
A highlight of our third day was The Clicquot Long Lunch at Rata Restaurant which provided the ultimate gastronomic experience. A four-course degustation designed by celebrity chef and pseudo-Queenstown local Josh Emett paired exclusively with Veuve Clicquot. Emett spoke to the menu throughout the lunch and the inspiration behind it.
To end the week-long champagne festivities in true style, Veuve Clicquot hosted the Clicquot Colourama Gala; a chic champagne evening at QT Hotel’s Red Bar. Here we enjoyed live entertainment from The Clicks, an elaborately themed atmosphere with an interactive champagne wall, a life-size cake, live oyster shucking and a steady stream of champagne as we danced the night away.
Clicquot in the Snow was a true experience of the brand that I’m sure Madame Clicquot herself would have enjoyed. Let’s raise a glass to that!
Visitors to Queenstown can make the most of Veuve Clicquot’s month-long Clicquot in the Snow festival by booking into the following activities: the Snow Shoe Clicquot Experience at Snowfarm, Clicquot Snow Helicopter Landing, the Eforea Clicquot Spa at Hilton Queenstown and Skyline Clicquot High Tea at the Hilton Hotel Queenstown and SKYLINE. Available for the month of August, click here for more information.
*Sarah Harris Gould is a co-founder of fashion label Harris Tapper.