Zone News

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

One of our main goals in the Americas is to raise awareness of the Society in our region and to attract new members. Our strategy has been to focus on two areas – revamping the Americas pages and then providing on hand support to opening a branch.  Our work on the IWFS website has been to declutter and add more attractive images showing the benefits of becoming a member.  Then stage two, as a support to this we now have a team who are ready to handle any membership enquiries and to guide them through the joining process and establishing a stable and successful branch/chapter.  Most individuals have no idea of what is involved in starting a new branch. We are set up to provide sample bylaws and lead them through the process of opening a bank account and organizing proper dinners. This will entail everything to picking a restaurant, pairing wine and food to serving wine in the proper stemware. Americas Inc. will remain in constant contact for the first two years helping the branch to become established.  Our strategy seems to be working as we have three new branches, Burlington which was reported in the previous issue of the Global Grapevine and then Gulfstream and Jupiter both based in Florida and reported in this issue.  We are also busy planning two festivals – one in Chicago from 6-9 September, 2023.The main event being an exclusive tasting of 2015 Vosne-Romanée Premiers Crus led by Burgundy expert Allen Meadows, aka “Burghound”; and the second will be in 2024 when we will be cruising the Rhine through the Swiss Alps and visiting the castles and vineyards en route.  It should be spectacular.  Put the dates in your diary - August 19-26, 2024 and more details will follow soon.

ASIA PACIFIC – Michael Tamburri

In April 2023 I commenced an almost three-month journey visiting countries across all three Society zones. This was an opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of many of our branch members whose efforts contribute to the success of the Society.   As APZ Chair my trip began with a number of branches in the region namely Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. As outgoing Global Chairman I then headed to the US for the Willamette Valley festival in Oregon …where the Chain of Office was transferred to the new Global Chairman, Mike Donohoe.  Then the official part of my trip ended in the delightful Catalonia in Spain.   Back to where my trip began - with the Hong Kong branch. I witnessed incredible enthusiasm and attended a special IWFS dinner hosted by President Karen Leung.  We also progressed the planning for the 2024 IWFS Tri-Zone Festival in Hong Kong. Continuing onto Taiwan, I completed a 3-day visit to the six Taiwan branches and was hosted by APZ Executive and Ambassador Eddie Hu. I experienced incredible branch enthusiasm and exceptional regional cuisine matched with outstanding international wines.

I then travelled to Japan and was hosted by APZ Director and Ambassador Dennis Tanaka and attended an exceptional dinner with the Tokyo Bay branch. I enjoyed visiting all six Japanese branches and enjoyed their incredible hospitality on my way to the IWFS Council Conference in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Congratulations to the Americas festival committee for hosting such a memorable wine and food experience. At the time of writing, I am at the IWFS EAZ D.O Emporda festival in the Catalonia region of Spain and have been enjoying outstanding wines and local cuisine. I congratulate the EAZ organising committee for such an incredible festival and it is pleasing to see so many participants from all three IWFS zones.

We are now looking forward to the Sydney Festival from 18-22 October 2023 and post-festival tour in Melbourne/Mornington Peninsula from 24-27 October 2023. Information on the festival is on the IWFS website and bookings are available. I thank the APZ NSW President Jim Anderson and his team for their fantastic work and look forward to attending the festival.  I also thank APZ Treasurer Erik Lehnacker and his team for organising the post-festival tour.

The fourth edition of the APZ newsletter has been circulated to members and it has been well received. My thanks go to APZ Vice Chair Nicola Lee, APZ Administrator Shirley Tsao and branch captains who have contributed to the content. I encourage all branches to send their branch news to our APZ administrator at: apz@iwfs.org     for consideration in our next edition.

I have been humbled this 90th Anniversary year as Chair of the International Council of Management. This role has been a fulfilling experience and I have greatly appreciated the assistance from all Council members, former President Dave Felton, current President Chris Bonsall and I am grateful for all the Secretariat assistance from Andrea Warren. I look forward to my continued involvement as an APZ Council member.

Finally, my sincere thanks and appreciation to the voluntary contribution of our APZ Board and Executive Committee Members for their continued commitment to the APZ.

EUROPE AFRICA – John Nicholas

It is great news that Europe Africa has resumed normal activities with branches holding a broad programme of events. After the catch up in 2022 with festivals initiated before Covid in Alsace and Piedmont, we had a wonderful new festival in Catalonia, Spain at the end of May.

Some practices initiated by necessity during Covid restrictions have continued with the Executive Committee meeting via Zoom or more recently using a hybrid meeting with some members physically present and some on Zoom. Co-operation between branches has increased since Covid with invitations regularly exchanged with other branches. Co-operation also resulted in new initiatives such as the North of England branches getting together to develop the Catering colleges competition.  This year, there were two external sponsors, The Vegetarian Society and Saga, an organisation targeted at the IWFS current demographic ie over 50s.

We continue our drive to find ways to attract younger members recognising the different social patterns of younger generations, in particular more spontaneous planning of events (eg let’s meet at … tomorrow) and use of social media. We encourage the formation of new branches both in new geographic areas and to meet different needs.

During Covid many branches held on-line events very successfully, but the desire for these seems to have dried up. However, we are considering how to use the lessons learnt to generate on-line educational events, which could either be live or recorded.

Our Society is managed by volunteers at all levels – Council, Regions and Branches (Chapters). To survive and to generate the changes needed in the 21st Century, we need a continuing succession of volunteers. I address members throughout the world to think about what they can do to help.

As Chair of Europe Africa, I found it very useful that in May Council held its first face-to-face meeting since the autumn of 2019. The face-to-face Council meeting, albeit partially hybrid, and the opportunities for informal discussions during the Willamette festival created much food for thought and that all our regions are facing similar issues.