We welcome the latest news from our Zone Chairmen, and members of the International Council of Management – Stephen Hipple (Americas), Michael Tamburri (Asia Pacific) and John Nicholas (Europe Africa)
AMERICAS - StePHeN Hipple
The Americas is doing really well - nearly all branches have been able to resume in-person events and with most restaurants re-opening to full occupancy, dinners are back on the menu! We are pleased to report that as the majority of our members have received their Covid shot(s), they can enjoy dining with their IWFS friends. Virtual dinners seem to be a thing of the past. Let's hope this continues into 2022. I am also very pleased to report that our two new branches, Arkansas and Denver, held a host of events this year and have great plans for next year too - in true IWFS style.
Arkansas was founded in January and by February they held their first event - at Ciao Baci restaurant in Little Rock. Twelve of the original 13 members attended a wonderful six-course meal hosted by Seth Barlow. In April, Amy Ford hosted the group at her home and poured five pairs of wines, tasted blind. In each flight, attendees tried to identify the more expensive of two similarly vinified wines. At that event they recruited a further five new members which is great news. In October, 14 of the 18 members made the drive to the home of the branch President, John Trickett, to participate in a day-into-night “feast”. Groups of members collaborated to sequentially prepare six courses with paired wines for the group to enjoy.
Denver’s ‘kick-off’ wine tasting event was aptly held on the roof of the Denver Athletic Club during the summer and they have had two successful dinners during the fall. My wife Patti and I joined them for their inaugural dinner in September at Urban Farmer, a popular farm to table restaurant near Union Station in downtown Denver. For their second dinner they hosted Americas Board member, Dr Peter Miao, at a wonderful five-course meal at the traditional French restaurant Atelier by Radex. At this dinner they featured the two great wine regions in France: Burgundy and Bordeaux. Some other wine societies can only offer their members wines from one of these wine regions. What a shame. They had them both! They have structured their chapter as a couple's based society which fits better with the relaxed attitude of Colorado. One challenge that they face is that Colorado does not allow patrons to bring their own wine to a restaurant. Odd isn't it, given the focus on other forms of recreational activates available in the state!
Scott Morris, branch President, reports “We have dinners scheduled every other month next year. Our January dinner will be Italian focused and feature wines from South to North. The chapter is off to a strong start and we hope to have 30 members signed up by the time you read this.”
Congratulations to both John and Scott for putting on such a great calendar of events and we look forward to hearing more of their news in the new year.
ASIA PACIFIC – Michael Tamburri
There is light at the end of the tunnel – as I begin my second year of office as Chair of the APZ I am pleased to say the future is looking brighter plus I am also reminded of 1978 when my IWFS journey began - Australian singer John Paul Young sang “Love is in the Air” and I attended a lecture at university presented by Max Lake, father of the Australian boutique wine industry and also a firm friend of our founder André Simon.
As you will see from our Branch News a number of our branches are resuming in-person events, when possible, or have in-person events scheduled whilst also maintaining an online presence with their members. 12 branches have not only resumed activities but have been communicating with our administrator Shirley on their proposed activities. For any further assistance please contact Shirley at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
During this time our APZ directors are taking the opportunity to work closely with our 33 branches to further improve our communication network, working to enhance our section of the IWFS website to better facilitate inter-branch communication and enhance member information. The process has been relatively slow but I’m grateful to our voluntary board members who have taken on specific roles to better the zone. I’m also grateful to our Director Dennis Tanaka for his work and contribution with the Japanese branches and Council for approving the Japanese version of the Exploring Blended Scotch monograph – which is just been finalised.
Our latest monograph plus distribution of the champagne stoppers have meant we can maintain contact with our branches and we have received thanks and acknowledgment. I wish to thank IWFS Ltd for these initiatives. I am pleased to report that we have finalised the branch Charters for Edo, Nagoya, Kyushu and Chungnan which achieved their full Charter in September. Generally, these are presented in person at IWFS events, but unfortunately given travel limitations I’ve asked Dennis in Japan and Eddie in Taiwan to present these when appropriate on my behalf to the branches. So, as we work together, there will be further challenges, but yes, I do feel the future is looking bright!
EUROPE AFRICA – John Nicholas
Two festivals in two months! What a pleasure it has been - meeting both our members and also a sprinkling of members from other zones showing that our international connections are still alive. The Madeira festival was a huge success as highlighted in Zone news above and was preceded by our festival in the university town of Cambridge. Plus we have three more festivals scheduled for 2022. Enormous thanks are extended to the organisers led by Stephanie Shepherd, EAZ’s Events Coordinator.
At last, during the summer in Europe, face-to-face events resumed with many branches organising events both during the summer and with plans for festive season dinners. I think many members were “zoomed out”. However, we believe there is a place in our programmes for future virtual events, indeed Europe Africa organised a pasta cooking class in November.
Our event in September in the University town of Cambridge, UK and was attended by over 40 members. The event included two dinners and a luncheon in three different Cambridge Colleges, each with different and interesting histories. At each college we had a guest speaker including the Master of Magdalene College. It is impossible for members of the public to dine in these colleges, and participants were very pleased to have benefitted from this opportunity provided by their IWFS membership. The final dinner was at the University Arms Hotel with a menu prepared by Tristan Welch, a finalist in the UK’s Great British menu. A walking tour of historical Cambridge enhanced the programme as did a visit to Ely cathedral, one of the most famous in England and its stained-glass museum. More details can be found in the most recent edition of Food & Wine
The EAZ require members to have been fully vaccinated or have a valid exemption certificate before participating in one of its events. Compliance with local rules is also essential with most European countries requiring the proper use of facial masks (ie covering mouth and nose) in enclosed spaces and on all transport and transport venues, such as airports. “Covid passports” are required for entry into many venues including restaurants in an increasing number of countries. Passenger locator forms for each country arrived at by air must also be completed online. It is my view that these inconveniences will continue for a long time and if we want to embark on international journeys we will have to get used to them.
After the Cambridge event, Europe Africa held its Annual General Meeting and it was followed by a two-hour discussion session on how to reverse membership declines, improve communications and develop new types of event. Details can also be found in the latest edition of Food & Wine.
We are looking forward to a full programme of events in 2022, in the spring firstly in Alsace, and after a weekend pause, followed by Piedmont. In the autumn an event in England is in the first stages of planning. Let us hope that further Covid restrictions do not hamper these events or the programmes that are now being developed by branches throughout Europe Africa.