Why Should I Belong?
Before even examining the particulars that are involved in forming a new Branch, it is important to address the individual question “Why should I belong to a Branch of The IW&FS?”
There is an immediate and very obvious reason – the association with a prestigious, worldwide organization whose members have been recognized leaders in the fields of wine and food for almost a century.
Included in the scope of this international organization are area committees (the Asia/Pacific Zone, the Europe/Africa Zone and the Americas Zone) that hold festivals and host regional food and wine experiences, tours and cruises on a regular basis such as the International Festivals in South Africa in 2009 and Vancouver in 2012. In addition to the unique food and wine focus of the festivals, life-long friendships across the globe have been formed through these enriching experiences.
On a more regional basis, each Branch has a ‘Branch Contact’ who provides traveling members with a ready reference and very personal contact for the many cities and venues around the world. It is like having a friend in that city. Oftentimes various Branches plan inter-Branch functions as well – visiting a Branch in another area as part of a food and wine exchange.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to belong to The IW&FS and the source of the greatest reward lies within the individual Branches on a very local and personal level. There you will find the opportunity to come together with like-minded people who share an interest in both food and wine. By planning and participating in events that capitalize on the venues of your geographic area, members are able to participate in experiences that they could not do as individuals. Cooking classes, wine tastings, dinners in members’ homes, ethnic dining, food and wine experiences in unique venues – the possibilities are limitless and the enthusiasm is contagious. Venues and merchants become familiar with the organization and recognize the interest level of its members often resulting in a more unique experience. It is this camaraderie, beginning at the local level that carries on to national and international activities and gives the organization its uniqueness.
Membership also includes a quarterly newsletter, Wine, Food & Friends, which has timely articles on food and wine, as well as reports of various Branch activities and upcoming travels and events. Periodically, mongraphs relating to wine and food are made available to members, such as two recent offerings, Biodynamics in Wine, by Beverly Blanning MW and Icewine by John Schreiner.