David R Felton was appointed as Honorary President of the Society in May 2017. It is a singular Society figurehead role awarded to an individual with an expansive interest in food & wine; one who encourages the cohesiveness and international camaraderie of the Society; and one who promotes this Society's forward progress while also upholding its traditional values. Dave succeeds Sidney Cross, from the Vancouver Branch, who held the role from 2012-2016.
Dave has been a member of the IWFS for over 25 years. During this time he has devotedly served the Society at all levels, having joined the Pasadena branch in California in 1995 where he worked his way through various roles and then held the position of President from 2000-2006. He attended his first Society international festival in 2001 (Hong Kong), where he gained a better understanding of the breadth and depth of the large worldwide organisation. He and his wife of nearly 50 years, Mitsuko, have since travelled to dozens of countries and met many hundreds of members around the world, all the while enjoying new friends, learning new perspectives and sharing food & wine opinions and experiences.
During this time Dave continued to play an active role in the management of the IWFS. In 2003 he was invited to join the Board of Governors of the Americas which oversees the Society’s largest zone, with approximately 4000 members. He chaired the Americas Festivals & Events Committee from 2005 to 2012, allowing him to plan the Americas’ regional 2007 Santa Barbara Festival as well as the hugely successful Vancouver International Festival in 2012. He also served as Americas Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance Committee. In 2011, he was elected Chairman of the Americas Board. At the same time, Dave also was elected to the Society’s six-person global leadership team, the International Council of Management (ICM). Following the completion of his three-year term as Americas Chairman in September 2014, he was elected Chairman of the ICM, serving until October 2016. He also served as the Chairman of the Society’s primary philanthropic organization, the IW&FS in America, Inc Foundation, until 2014. Over the years, Dave's service to the Society has been acknowledged with its highest awards, culminating with the presentation of the Andre Simon Gold Medal in 2016.
Following his term as the Society's global chair, Dave & Mitsuko formed Felton Family Farms in 2017 and purchased vineyard land in Argentina's Uco Valley, famed for its grape-growing climate and soils. Using local workers, the acreage was cleared, irrigated, trellised and then planted to malbec grapes. As they began the wait for the grapes to mature to the stage that they might be used or sold, Dave began buying juice from other nearby vineyards and blending his own wine. His first effort, called C-Cubed, was a blend of malbec, merlot and cabernet franc grapes from the 2016 harvest. He since has blended four more vintages of the C-Cube Red Blend, through 2020, all slightly different in composition but all focused on the luscious qualities of the malbec grape from the Mendoza region's Uco Valley. (www.feltonfamilyfarms.com)
Back in Pasadena, he finds himself assigned down in the cellar, where he serves as Pasadena’s Cellar Master. He and Mitsuko also belong to the Los Angeles Branch of the Society. Dave attended the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, and has a degree in International Economics & Japanese Studies from Tokyo’s Sophia University. They have three adult children and two grandchildren. They are advocating for more of the little ones.
Dave’s unstinting commitment to the Society and great love of all things food & wine in the company of fellow IWFS members, led Council to agree that he is the ideal person for the role of Society Honorary President. Dave has welcomed the role, and continues to look forward to meeting many of our members at future events both locally and internationally.
|1933-1970||André Simon (co-founder)|
|1970-1981||No elected President|
|1981-1982||H W Yoxall OBE|
|1982-1983||No elected President|
|1983-1984||Allan C Holmes|
|1984-1992||Michael Broadbent MW|
|1992-2000||Dr R A Charpie|
|2000-2002||No elected President|
|2002-2008||Hugh Johnson OBE|
|2008-2012||F John Avery MW|
|2012-2016||G Sidney Cross OMA|
|2017-present||David R Felton (May 2017)|