March 10, 2014

The Queens' Bacchanal

A Look at the Società Gioventù Quagliettana’s Annual Gara Dei Vini and Festa Della Donna
In Italy it’s customary to give women mimosa for Women’s Day
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Saturday, I had the great pleasure of attending the Società Gioventù Quagliettana’s Gara Dei Vini and Festa Della Donna, an annual celebration of wine and women in Astoria, Queens. As always there was plenty of lively conversation, delicious food and, of course, some of the best homemade wine I’ve had in years. Bacchus himself would have approved.
While tasting the wine and watching the competition was fun, the night truly belonged to the ladies. In a reversal of traditional roles between the sexes, the men showed their love and appreciation for the fairer sex by doing all the cooking and cleaning. The ladies were waited on hand and foot by the menfolk. Free of any of its original political meaning, here in Queens International Women’s Day has become a festive celebration of motherhood and the nobility of women.
During the festivities I was unexpectedly honored by the society with some kind words and several bottles of wine. Touched by their generosity, I still insist that it’s really them who deserve my thanks and not the other way around. Associations like the Società Gioventù Quagliettana are the true custodians of our culture. They don’t just document our traditions, they keep them alive by living them daily. They give us a chance to participate and contribute to them. In an increasingly materialistic world that puts little stock in culture and faith, it gets harder and harder for these groups to survive. They are living treasures and they need and deserve support from those of us who still place value in such things.
A special day for some special ladies
With so many great wines to choose from,
picking a winner was no easy task for the judges
A look at the coveted trophies
The proud winners of this year’s homemade wine competition
Celebrating family 
Some vino from Avellino was also on hand
We capped off the evening with some delicious cake