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Branches

Each branch of the IW&FS is unique and collectively brings to our Society the best of traditions with the common thread which ties us together:  the melding of the pleasure of the company of our members, who enjoy beautifully prepared food, matched with intriguing wine, while in gracious surroundings.  Membership in the IW&FS provides access to places and events that only members can attend.  It also provides a special camaraderie that only its members can enjoy.

Among the many benefits of membership in The International Wine & Food Society is the ability to link and interact with other branches.  Today we have over 6,200 members in about 150 branches located in 30 countries.  In the Americas alone, there are 80+ branches totaling over 4,200 members.  While traveling to distant places and visiting other branches you will meet wonderful people, make new friends, enjoy fabulous dinners prepared by the area’s finest chefs and drink some of the greatest wines in the world.  Attending other branches’ events varies according to the host branch and is subject to space availability.  When visiting other cities, the Branch Contact (the liaison between IWFS Americas Inc. and a branch) from that locality is an excellent source of information regarding the best restaurants, lodging and tourist attractions.

In addition to our quarterly newsletter, Wine, Food & Friends, IWFS Americas Inc. provides resources to branches seeking to grow.  The IWFS Americas Inc. brochure gives a brief history of the Society, highlights the benefits of membership and is provided free of charge to the branches.  It can be distributed to wine and food aficionados, restaurateurs, etc. to promote your branch and the Society.  New branches receive a pamphlet with ideas and templates to help them get organized.  It can also assist a branch seeking to expand.  The brochure and pamphlet may be obtained by contacting IWFS Americas Inc. administrative office at admin.americas@iwfs.org.

The Branch Resource Manual (BRM), accessible to members on www.iwfs.org, assists branches in their organization and management.  IWFS Americas Inc. periodically updates and expands the Branch Resource Manual in response to branch needs.  Topics include Branch Wine Cellar Management, How to Plan Events, Insurance, Dues Structure, Publications, Organization with sample sets of By-laws and templates helpful for recruitment of new members… all one needs to know to run an IW&FS branch.  A library of forms offers a broad selection with more templates, such as member application forms used by various branches.

An IWFS Americas Inc. Governor is assigned to each branch to offer help and advice.  If IWFS Americas Inc. observes declining membership in a branch, it offers advice to reverse the downward trend.  If a branch desires such help, the Branch Resources and Membership Committee will assign a committee member to help the branch.  We offer survey forms that branches may adapt to gauge member satisfaction and to help plan events their members want.  This sharing of ideas and communications is encouraged by IWFS Americas Inc..

IWFS Americas Inc. administrative office provides many services, including answering queries, issuing certificates and awards to deserving members, Society regalia and maintaining membership records.

“Social host liability” is a problem for all who organize wine tastings, dinners and other social events involving the service of alcohol.  Even those who are not engaged in the hospitality business and organize wine tastings and similar events for purely social reasons are exposed to the risk of being made liable for personal injuries and damage caused by guests who have become intoxicated.  In the United States the law relating to social host liability varies widely from state-to-state.  Some states limit the responsibility of social hosts to injury that occurs on the premises where the event is held.  Other states extend social host liability to injuries arising from road traffic accidents caused by guests to whom they have served alcohol.  The host may be held jointly and severally liable for a traffic accident caused by an intoxicated guest, the financial consequences of which could be very serious indeed.

One of the many advantages enjoyed by all members of the IW&FS is public liability insurance at an affordable cost.  The Society maintains insurance coverage specifically designed to cover its members against social host liability.  Whilst it might be possible for a small private club to arrange this type of insurance on a standalone basis, the policy limits would be relatively low and the cost per person could well be prohibitive, especially in the United States.  Because the Society is able to arrange its public liability coverage on a worldwide basis, its members have the benefit of high policy limits at a minimal cost per person, which is included in the annual dues.