90th Anniversary International Events

Two recent events were held by branches opening their doors to members from further afield and celebrating our Society’s 90th Anniversary.

New York branch welcomes cruising members

On September 29, IWFS members from around the world completed their crossing of the Atlantic on the Queen Mary II’s Festival of Food and Wine at Sea. They were greeted that evening by members of the New York Branch for a dinner celebrating the IWFS’ 90th anniversary. This trip echoed IWFS co-founder, André Simon’s crossing on the steamship Paris in November 1934 from Southampton to New York to establish the first branches in the United States.

The largest difference seemed to be that Simon described his arrival on a “crisp, clear, sunny November afternoon”, while the IWFS members of today were received by torrential rain and flooding that made international news. Remarkably, everyone was able to dry off and make it to the dinner.

The dinner was held at Alain Ducasse’s Benoit Bistro, coincidently celebrating their 15th anniversary in New York. Alain Ducasse should need no introduction to members of The IWFS and the New York branch has often used the restaurant to hold events. The branch was pleased to be joined by Pauline Vranken, the Executive Representative in the US for Vranken Pommery Monople. Pommery was really the only wine that would be appropriate to serve for the occasion. André Simon worked as the London representative for Pommery for 30 years prior to founding the Society in 1933. André referred to Pommery as “not the oldest, but the most important of the Reims Champagne houses.”

The welcome, food and service given by the New York branch to the travellers were excellent and a wonderful end to a trip held to commemorate the trip made by Andre Simon many years ago.

See issue 146 of Wine Food & Friends for the full report by Chris Ankner.


Windsor Castle – dinner fit for a king

The London branch held an exclusive dinner in the historic Windsor Castle.  On a balmy evening in September 72 eager participants, from around the world, filled the Vicars’ Hall, built in 1415, for a celebratory dinner.  The light and warm autumn evening meant that they enjoyed evensong in the Quire of the Tudor chapel, normally reserved for the Knight of the Order of the Garter and surrounded by items of their heraldic achievements, before moving to the Lookout, on the ramparts, for a champagne reception.  Dinner was served in the Vicars’ Hall with a delicious menu being matched with a selection of fine wines from France notably Domaine Tariquet Premières Grives, Côte de Gascogne of which an earlier vintage was served, and popular, at the 2018 International Festival in London.