International Wine & Food Society

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

(IWFS), the oldest and most cosmopolitan of the gastronomic societies for consumers rather than professionals. Initially simply the Wine & Food Society, it was founded in London in 1933 by André simon and like-minded friends. Its aim, other than providing a readership for a journal Wine and Food which Simon planned to edit, was to promote the highest quality of raw materials and an appreciation of how they could best be served and consumed. An early motto was ‘Not much, but the best’. Launched in full economic depression (partly as a reaction to the culinary decline which resulted from it), the society attracted its fair share of criticism initially, and might well have withered had not the Repeal of prohibition opened up North America to the proselytizing of M. Simon. Soon there were branches all over the United States where it is most important today, although the IWFS remains based in London. Total numbers have declined but in 2013 there were still 6,000 members in 130 branches in 30 countries. The Society, now much imitated, is a non-profit-making concern and has always taken a particular interest in wine. André Simon and his early colleague A. J. A. Symons launched the first pocket vintage chart in 1935 and it is annually revised by a special committee of the IWFS to this day, providing useful income through sales to publishers of diaries and the like. The journal was published regularly between 1934 and 2000 and was at one stage edited by Hugh johnson.