Zone News

We welcome the latest news from our Zone Chairmen, Michael Tamburri (Asia Pacific), John Nicholas (Europe Africa) and also recently appointed Chairman of the Americas – Chris Ankner. Over to you Chris first of all…

AMERICAS - Chris Ankner

Hi. Last September, the Board elected me as the new Chairman of the IWFS Americas. Since I haven’t been closely involved in our Festivals and Events, I suspect not many of you know me, so I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself. I have been on the Marketing Committee and am probably most associated with the Zoom Tasting Series in North America. You’ll know more about it later, as we plan to start a YouTube channel so members around the world can view these tastings. I have an interest in the US Civil War and have written articles for the Sharpshooter. In my ample free time, I work in finance in New York City, primarily in high yield bonds.

In Festivals and Events, I’ve inherited a hand of full of aces. Outgoing IWFS Americas Chair, Steve Hipple, is putting the final touches on our Great Weekend in New Orleans in early March. Steve has been putting on the finest Events for us for over a decade. I know he wants to contrast and compare Cajun and Creole Cuisine and I’m going to get out of his way because I know he wants to do this right. Incoming Festival and Events Chair, Charles Schurhammer is hard at work firming up details for our Rhine River cruise at the end of next summer. With these guys running the show, I’m like Tom Sawyer getting Monet and Picasso to paint Aunt Polly’s fence. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to sign up for both pretty soon.

The Virtual Tastings, of which I’ve gotten such positive feedback, will be ably handled by Neal Vitale from the Hollywood branch. I’m loath to say it but I think you’ll find he may be better than I am at this. I leave that post in his capable hands.

As I said to the Board when I was nominated, our mission, as it has been for 90 years, is to promote fine food, fine wine, and the arts of the table. We would like to grow the scale of the Society to every city in North America capable of handling a branch and eventually to cities in Central and South America. And we would like to do it consistent with the ideals set forth by Andre Simon decades ago.

Most importantly, we would like to have fun doing it. And I’d like to do it with all of you.

ASIA PACIFIC – Michael Tamburri

It has been exciting to travel to the Sydney IWFS-APZ October 2023 festival with such great food and wine experience. Having the opportunity to celebrate our 90th Anniversary of the Society on the 20th of October and the New South Wales branch also celebrated their 40th Anniversary. The festival was attended by members from the Americas, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, Western Australia, and Victoria branches joined by local New South Wales members.  My sincere gratitude to New South Wales branch president and Festival Chair Jim Anderson and the Sydney festival committee for coordinating such an incredible festival. The highlight from me was the choice of venues and the selection of wines showcased the different regions within the states of Australia was exceptional. Presented by the master of wines, and wine sommeliers. The knowledge shared exceeded my expectations and no doubt was beneficial for all the members.

Our sixth IWFS-APZ newsletter was released in July and hopefully everyone has had an opportunity to see this in the new format. My sincere gratitude to all editors and members who contributed, and I’m pleased with the updated format and continue to encourage branches to send material to our APZ Administrator at: for our next edition.

In August, I was invited to attend the 90th Anniversary Champagne showcase dinner and was hosted by the Manila Ladies branch in the Philippines and many thanks to CJ Juntereal and her committee for organising such a memorable event for us all.  I also took the opportunity to have dinner with the Philippines branch and thank President Jay Labrador for hosting such a memorable evening.

We are also progressing the planning for the tri-zone Festival in Hong Kong next year around 16 or 17 November 2024, and are also considering a post-tour in Macau. The Hong Kong tri-zone festival is being chaired by President Karen Leung and arrangements are being finalised presently. Please look out for updates on the IWFS website.

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

EUROPE AFRICA – John Nicholas

The autumn started with a two-night stay in the New Forest with two enjoyable meals and paired wines at two of the more notable New Forest establishments and a visit to Beaulieu with its extensive historical car museum, remains of the Abbey, dissolved by Henry VIII, and the Palace House. A morning was devoted to the formalities of the IWFS Europe Africa Annual General Meeting, followed by a short presentation of the developing strategy followed. There followed a lively discussion and buffet lunch. A report of the discussions and the event are included in the upcoming issue of Food & Wine.

A few of those at this event joined other members of IWFS on the Queen Mary II for a crossing of the Atlantic which culminated with some of the members joining a New York branch event. The cruise was not an official IWFS event, but nevertheless it was an opportunity for members to meet members from other branches, enjoy their company whilst enjoying the facilities of a world class cruise ship.

Showcase events are important for the Society to demonstrate its place in the gastronomic world. We cannot expect to attract new members unless we make ourselves known. However, most of our members will continue to explore the world of wine and food with friends in their branch. Each branch has its own preferences for the types of events it wants to organise. Nevertheless, from time-to-time different types of event might be welcome to members, especially when trying to attract new members. Open branch events such as that held in Windsor Castle are an opportunity for one branch to share their experiences with other members. Our branches are all dependent on volunteers. The more members prepared to “help out” the better - to misquote a famous slogan “Your Society Needs You”.

I wish those embarking on the trip to South Africa a most enjoyable time in Cape Town and Lusaka, in both of which I am sure you will be made most welcome, as well as on the train journey across Southern Africa.

It is important for all our members to celebrate and publicise the 90th Anniversary of our founding by André Simon – show off the logo and tell “everyone” about this important milestone.

As the nights draw in, at least in the Northern hemisphere, I wish you all an enjoyable festive season with good wine, good food and good company.