Our Branch is one of over 70 in the Americas and 1 of 7 in Canada formed in 1971, but not all Branches are alike. Each maintains its own traditions and character. However, universal goals of the Branches include:
- Enjoying gourmet meals and fine wines with good friends.
- Meeting chefs and winemakers to learn their secrets for wine and food
- Educating our members as to the finer points of wines and the culinary
Tastings and Dinners
The IW&FS of Toronto arranges monthly events (9-10 /y) combining wine and food which include dinners and tastings; all designed to be innovative, educational, enjoyable and of high quality. Events are usually held privately in restaurants, and cost between $90.00 and $250.00 depending on the function.
Past tasting events have included:
- Balsamic vinegar, olives and olive oil, oysters, asparagus tastings,
- Premium world wines,
- Bordeaux, Scotch and Sherry tastings,
- Annual events include:
- President’s Reception,
- Christmas Extravaganza,
- Valentine's Dinner
- Annual AGM.
Members of the IWFS of Toronto enjoy a collective private wine cellar which serves as a source of wines to be used at events. This allows the group to acquire young wines at an advantageous price and age them for future use. The managed IW&FS cellar currently has 1100 bottles maintained in strict climate controlled conditions. The Board’s policy is to build both the quality and quantity of its wine cellar in future years.
Why A Wine Cellar?
Why does the IWFS Toronto have and maintain a wine cellar? The most important reasons is that, as members, you would be limited to only those wines that were available at the LCBO at the time of an IWFS event and in the world of exciting culinary delights and the pairing of wine that would be boring.
The Cellar Master purchases wines that offer good prospects for aging with the commensurate improvement in overall quality. Some wines have been purchased at auction and represent unique opportunities to taste something that otherwise would be unavailable.
Simply put, the cellar has many benefits for IWFS members.
The IWFS mandate is the interest in "Food and Wine" together. A proper pairing benefit from the Cellar Master’s experience and keen knowledge as applied to the purchase and correct cellaring of the wines. It is often impossible, or extremely difficult, to acquire certain wines or styles of wines throughout the year. As an example, Beaujolais Nouveau is only available at certain times during the year. The Cellar Master, with his love of wine, is always on the prowl for wines that may be complimentary to food pairings as he peruses the endless new selections that seem to oscillate in the LCBO.
A wine cellar allows for the creation of inventories to organize educational tastings; be they vertical, horizontal, varietal or regional in nature. It is not often that we have the opportunity to savour a vertical tasting of well aged Bordeaux even at our own table. Opening four bottles of fine wine for two is perhaps excessive, if for no other reason, that we can not possibly consume so much in an appreciative manner.
Since 1982, the IWFS of Toronto has supported scholarships to the top graduates of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, and the Culinary Management Program at George Brown College through the International Wine and Food Foundation of Canada.
Every four years some regions of the IW&FS hosts International Festivals attended by members from all over the globe. Festivals feature private culinary and winery tours, including black-tie dinners, each with a focus on the specialities of the region.
Toronto Branch Beginnings
The enjoyment of good food and fine wines, shared among friends, unites members of the IW&FS around the world.
Our Toronto Branch was inaugurated in 1971, and received its charter in 1973, making it part of the world's oldest and most renowned gastronomic society.
The Toronto Branch was established in the area by Jan and Bett-Van der Ree, Dr. Edward Wilson, and William Cameron. They created a vibrant group, which quickly grew to 130 members. A remarkable array of functions expanded members' knowledge as they enjoyed new wine and food experiences in early years:
- Fine dining at Toronto landmark restaurants: La Scala, Winston’s and the Sutton Place Hotel;
- Exploring Toronto's varied ethnic cuisines: Czech, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Polynesian, and Ukrainian;
- Tutored tastings of wines of the world: French, German, Spanish, and "new" Napa wines;
- Courses in classic cooking techniques at George Brown College;
- Food appreciation sessions: cheeses, pastas, and spices;
- Excursions beyond Toronto: Tastings and dinners at Niagara Wineries or at Century Wines, Rochester, New York Brown College.
The Toronto Branch Today
The society today continues this tradition of creative programs designed by members with innovative chefs and experts in wine.
Our members have established valuable links with other branches at home and abroad. Across Canada there are eight active branches including Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Niagara, Kitchener-Waterloo, Oakville and Montreal. There are 80 branches of the IW&FS throughout the United States Canada, Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico. The Board of Governors of the Americas (BGA) is the governing body that oversees the activities of these branches. The BGA encourages program exchanges between branches, offers ideas for new and interesting events and approves awards for special members, outstanding chefs and memorable occasions.
We invite prospective members to attend one or two functions. Our by-laws require applications for membership to be duly proposed and seconded by members in good standing. You may wish to send us an note and apply for membership: