Global News

New Chairman Appointment

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Mike Donohoe (r) as Chairman of the International Council of Management (ICM*).  He was handed the reigns from outgoing ICM Chairman, Michael Tamburri (l) during the Americas Willamette Valley Festival; formally at the Council meeting held on 7 May 2023. Mike served as Chairman of IWFS Americas from 2017-2020, has served on the Americas board since November 2003, presently as an Emeritus Director (but remains active on numerous committees), and is a past president of the Houston branch.  He has worked in the agricultural commodities futures business since 1994. Mike has been happily married to Yvonne for nearly 44 years, and is a running, cycling, swimming enthusiast, having completed fifteen marathons. He is humbled by the support he has received from the IWFS, which has been a key component of his life since the late 90’s.  Mike looks forward to his role as Chairman of the IWFS International Council of Management. During his tenure, Mike has said he will continue Michael Tamburri’s initiative to develop stronger tri-zone collaboration with an aim to attract and engage the next generation of members. 

* The ICM (under IWFS Ltd, International Secretariat in London) administers the global activities of the Society on behalf of the three IWFS Zones and consists of eight Directors - four from The Americas, two from Europe & Africa and two from Asia Pacific. The Chair rotates around the Zones and is normally a two-year term. The Chair oversees the operation of the Council which involves setting budgets for activities including global marketing and branding of the Society (including merchandise), the Vintage Guide, Member App, website, Global Grapevine and periodic monograph publications, Andre Simon lectures, society archives and members insurance.


It is an honor and privilege to have been recently elected to serve as your Chairman of the International Council.  I look forward to hosting our next Council meeting in early November.  Hopefully, I've learned something from prior chairmen Ian Nicol, Andrew Jones, and Michael Tamburri, whose diligent leadership has brought us together and moved us forward.

In the meantime, I hope you are all planning special events to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Society, which was founded in Fall 1933.  Our celebratory logo, as shown in our header is a one-of-a-kind beauty and is available for your event organiser to download for anniversary events.  To show it off, soon you will receive, courtesy of your council, a 3-pack of drop-stoppers for your wine pouring pleasure, with the 90th anniversary logo prominently embossed on each of them.

A look at our global calendar reveals unique celebrations galore, whether in Sydney in October, South Africa in November, or as far out as September of next year on the Rhine River.  Expect that calendar to remain full into the future, as your zone leaders are forward thinking and hard at work.  There are a great many moving parts in a well-run festival, so please give these organizers your hearty thanks, and on occasion, the benefit of the doubt, for the inevitable hiccups.  They have happily contributed hundreds of hours into preparing programs for your enjoyment.

The evolution of our Members App is bringing more useful content; recently, contributions from Nicola Lee on Asian-specific wine and food pairings.  And while we all enjoy our zone magazine, you may not be aware that all three of them are available on the Members App, as well as the Global Grapevine.  Many of us, not surprisingly, find cross-cultural interesting articles and insights when given access to the entire global perspective.

As we celebrate the recent gains made across our Society, many have lost friends and members this past year, so let us please pause and remember them for their contributions to our lives.

In a world that seems fraught with division around every corner, it is comforting to know that for all members of our International Wine & Food Society, whether you are from Asia Pacific, Europe Africa, or the Americas; you are part of a global community.  Wherever you travel, there is great wine, sumptuous food, and a unique camaraderie on offer at our131 branches around the world; a number we are intent on growing.  I think I speak for us all, when I say, "come visit.....share our table.....we want to show're worth it."

And for those who are unable to travel, there have now begun virtual tasting and dining programs, to enjoy in the comfort of one’s home.  As our Society adapts, it will continue to thrive.  I wish you well.