BLOG

A Stellar Introduction To New Mexico Wines

Deirdre Michalski, Travel WriterOk, I have to admit it right out of the gate—I am a Southern California gal with a penchant for wines from Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles. I have probably been up North 80 times in my adult life. The highest elevation of vineyards I have walked thru (during a cooking class) was at Chappellet Winery above the dreamy Hennessy Lake in northern Napa. So when I was trying to wrap my head around grapes being lovingly grown at 4,000 to 6,000 feet in elevation, I was utterly perplexed. Who does that? Well, in New Mexico, that is EXACTLY what they do honoring a long tradition, which is always comforting. And the wines are amazing. VIVA VINO!  —Deirdre Michalski


Many empty Viva Vino labeled goblets ready for wine

IFWTWA was so pleased to have local wineries pouring wine and educating us all at our Welcome Reception for our IFWTWA November 2019 Conference held at the historic La Fonda on the Plaza hotel in the heart of Santa Fe. It was such a splendid evening, and we so enjoyed meeting the representatives who joined us. Here is a little bit more about each of them and I really hope you have the chance to visit with them at their winery, or at one of their tasting rooms. You will enjoy every sip!

Read More

IFWTWA Announces 2019 Hospitality Scholarship Award

Chesapeake Culinary Center in Denton, Maryland wins IFWTWA's 2019 Hospitality Scholarship Award. As part of Caroline Culinary Arts, this organization provides high school students and community members an introduction to the foodservice and hospitality industry in preparation for future culinary careers. The program targets displaced youth between the ages of 16 and 21 but is open to all adults seeking a career in the hospitality industry, giving them valuable job skill for future success.

Students at the Center develop and demonstrate skills in safe and sanitary food handling and preparation techniques and learn to prepare a variety of foods. They develop a broad understanding of the types of career options available in the foodservice and hospitality industry and have the opportunity to earn the ServSafe Credential. The educators administering the program hope this model can be eventually be adopted throughout the state of Maryland and the region. The institution has been sent a $1000 scholarship award to be given out to a deserving student.

Read More

IFWTWA Announces 2019 Excellence in Journalism Award

Jacqui Gibson wins the 2019 Excellence in Journalism Award for her article “The Kings of Creole.” Jacqui’s background includes a 20-year writing career that spans newspaper reporting, magazine feature writing and general communications.  Image: New Zealand writer Jacqui Gibson scanning New Zealand’s Cook Strait for humpback whales from the bridge of a Bluebridge Ferry. On assignment, November 2019 @JacquiGibson

 Jacqui Gibson bridge search for whales

Jacqui's winning article first appeared in Heritage New Zealand magazine and tells the story of New Orleans chefs and food historians who worked to preserve the city’s unique culinary heritage in the years following the catastrophic devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This inspiring and compelling story is one of remarkable determination and cultural resilience.

Read More

Pack Light, Shoot Well! Travel and Blogging Camera Strategies

Elaine Masters, author/freelance writer and IFWTWA member shares her valuable knowledge and insights during the #IFWTWA2019 Conference Workshop: Making and Editing Videos: Demystifying Video Storytelling - Shortcuts for Travel Writers. 

Elaine Masters taking pictures with gimble and cell phone in Petra, Jordan

As we all know, the weight of our luggage and travel gear has become a big issue when packing. With baggage fees tacked on, it can be quite expensive.  Elaine Masters is an avid photographer, videographer and travel writer.  She has created a step-by-step guide on her best practices when packing for a trip. What to bring, what is essential and what can just be left at home. We all want to bring the gear, the lenses, lights and memory cards. But what are the “must haves”.  Also, what to carry on vs. pack in the suitcase?  There is a wealth of information and tips on just how to navigate this process. Thanks Elaine for sharing your tips today at our professional development conference. For those who could not attend the 2019 Conference, here are some of Elaine's tips and strategies.

Read More

5 Reasons to visit the U.S. destination of Denver, Colorado

"Denver, Colorado, is both a gateway to the Rockies and a vibrant arts, food and culture destination, as Jacqui Gibson finds out on a visit to the United States." Here she shares 5 reasons to visit Denver, Colorado:

Denver Art Museum - modern angular silver building

Gunning down US Interstate 70 in your hire car flanked by trucks as huge as overturned skyscrapers isn’t the best tonic for a shaky soul. One wonky move and you’re custard. And, as if driving here wasn’t enough to make you feel small, you look up to the horizon, through a gap in the traffic, to see something even more disorienting – a chain of mountains so tall and so wide they make our own Aoraki-Mount Cook look, well, a bit try-hard.

Read More

Visit Halkidiki, stress-free, in the footsteps of IFWTWA travel writers

Greece offers more than blue water beach vacations or ancient sites and museums chock full of antiquities. IFWTWA travel writers bring you in depth reviews and insights from their journey to help you decide where to focus your attention when visiting all that is modern and ancient Greece. 

Ancient Ruins in Greece - Rear view of The Acropolis, Athens

This country is an easy-to-reach destination that offers discoveries in the great outdoors via hiking, camping, white-water rafting, rock climbing, and more in places like the Northern Pindos National Park. With Bulgaria and Albania nearby, you'll garner a sense of cross-border culture that adds a another perspective to your trip. Learn more about the adventures awaiting you in Greece on our media placements pageStop dreaming about it. Go!

Read More

Hello Santa Fe! We can’t wait to stay at La Fonda on the Plaza!

The International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) is thrilled to be visiting New Mexico this November 11-13, 2019. Conference attendees will be staying at the “casually elegant” historic La Fonda on the Plaza during the #ifwtwa2019 Conference. 

On a recent episode of Big Blend Radio, Ed Pulsifer, Director of Sales & Marketing shared the fascinating history of La Fonda on the Plaza. Ed is a great storyteller. Grab a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy this interview as he describes how Fred Harvey and architect Mary Colter both played a role in designing and boosting cultural tourism for the hotel, Santa Fe, and the Old West.

Read More

The Feel is in the Destination, Baros Maldives

Opening in 1973, the Baros Maldives was only the third island destination resort in the Maldives. It’s gorgeous beauty and proximity to Male were among the primary reasons for it’s opening. Even though such history is fairly recent – things were significantly different back then. There were no banks on Male, fishing was still the primary income source for the country, the population was less than a 1/3 of what it is today and on Baros the original accommodation was thatched roof huts framed with coral walls – and no air conditioning. 

Couple Jumping Hi on Baros Island in Maldives

Resorts clustered around Male continued to open based on the fact one could reach these islands in a relatively short time via power boat – at most a few hours ride. “Remote” Maldivian resorts did not exist even 20 years ago. However when commercial seaplane service arrived and began offering daily flights; it became feasible to build resorts much further away from Male.

Read More

The World of Travel Writing

It’s human nature to want to feel a part of something. That’s one of the main reasons people join clubs and organizations. When I made the transition from full-time nursing to full-time freelance travel writing, I realized that as exciting as my new life was, I wasn’t part of a team like I had been at the hospital. Much of the work I was producing was now being done in my home office, practically in solitude.

Message in a bottle washed up on the ocean shore

So, I began to venture out. I joined my regional Travel Massive group. Next, I became a member of IFWTWA. Before I knew it, I was reaping the benefits of these formed relationships and my affiliations with other groups as well. Let’s look at the way professional organizations like IFWTWA can benefit travel writers and bloggers from an insider’s perspective.

Read More

Six Reasons Why I am Going to the Annual Conference (and you should consider coming, too…)

We asked for more workshops. IFWTWA gave us more than any conference in recent years. Learn more about them and the 2019 Conference here.

1. Lots of Workshops & Learning to Help Me Work Smarter
When was the last time you did something for you? Something to hone your craft? Make your work more efficient and flow better? And even though some of the Workshop sessions will be running concurrently, they are going to videotape all of the Workshops so that Attendees of the Conference can view them all! 

Hotel conference room with guests seated for workshop presentation

Read More

Relaxed Wine Country Experience in California? Yes! Visit Livermore and the Tri-Valley

The Tri-Valley is home to nearly 60 wineries, a craft beer trail with 23 stops, the first ice cream trail, California’s largest premium outlet shopping center, a world-class mall, one-of-a-kind boutique shops, hiking and incredible restaurants. From beer & wine tastings, to Dim Sum brunch, regional lunch and dinners, and a tour of the Blackhawk Museum, our media trip participants came away with an inspiring, hands-on experience and stories to share with their readers.

Wente Vineyards in Livermore, CA

Our group spent one day touring four wineries in Livermore Wine Country. The wineries ranged from small to large. The wines were consistently good and show the time, talent and focus the vintners are putting into their craft. See IFWTWA social media posts at #IFWTWA #livealittlemore @VisitTriValley @LVWineCountry

Read More

Who or what is IFWTWA?

IFWTWA is an acronym for the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. Our members make up a global network of storytelling content creators: writers, bloggers, travel journalists, photojournalists, podcasters, videographers, radio and television hosts, who report on the travel and hospitality industry. Many specialize solely in one area of food, wine, or travel reporting. Others pursue niches publishing on communications, historical, cultural or other specialty topical areas of interest to the public.

Industry professionals join with us to promote their venues. They run hotels, public relations firms, theme attractions, convention and visitors bureaus, destination management organizations, and tourism boards. They contribute the regional and local area knowledge and expertise so vital to fulfilling the mission of our Association. 


Read More

Culinary Traveler's Dream Come True: Dining at the James Beard House, New York City by M'Liss Hinshaw

When you are a guest in someone’s home, you try to be respectful. When you’re in the distinguished James Beard’s House, you are very respectful. It was nearly 7 p.m. and we were led into a plain brownstone with a simple plaque at the entrance stating it was the James Beard House.

James Beard House entrance

James Beard was the catalyst for showing people how to cook American food at a time when TV dinners were all the rage. In 1946, he had the first cooking show on NBC. Never one to sit still with so much culinary knowledge to share, his prolific cookbooks and magazine articles dominated the cooking world from the 1940’s until his death in 1985. His word about cooking with locally grown fresh foods was regarded as gospel and people wanted to hear and read the truth about cooking. And still do to this day.

Read More

Writers Conference & Workshop Registration Now Open

Three-day development conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico offered by IFWTWA for experienced and novice food, wine and travel writers. Substantial savings on registration fees are available now for a short time. 

Cowboy Boots

The International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association is pleased to announce Early Bird Registration is now open for its annual travel writer development conference. Substantial savings are available on registration fees for both members, guests and non-members through the month of June. Savings up to $100 is available. 

Read More

Vermont's Tastemakers are Making Waves ~ IFWTWA reports on upcoming food and beverage trends

Vermont is best known for maple syrup, skiing, fall foliage, and Ben & Jerry’s. But, in the past decade agriculture and food as well as the craft beer movement have positioned Vermont as best in class for foodies and beer connoisseurs, with travelers from across the globe coming to Vermont to taste our award-winning double IPAs, cheeses, ice cream, and, well… just about everything is great in Vermont!  #ExploreVTFood

Vermont Cheese Plank sampling with fresh raspberries, basil and edible flowers

IFWTWA member journalists explored the largest city (Burlington) and smallest city (Vergennes), the largest lake - Lake Champlain, and the mountains (Stowe, Vermont’s Highest peak)! We met with some of the regions tastemakers who are making waves nationally, and learned about up-and-coming food and beverage trends. Enjoy our stories of Vermont >>  

Read More

Mother’s Day Wine Pick: Wente Chardonnay

This year, pour Mom what she really wants for Mother’s Day—a knockout Chardonnay from a winemaking family who knows their way around tasteful California wines. Honestly, I haven’t found many Chardonnays that I could rave about. That has all changed… and just in time for Mother’s Day!

Wente Winery Chardonnay wine bottle, wine glass & violet plant on wooden table

On a press trip hosted by Visit Tri-Valley and the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, I was introduced to Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Vineyard 2017 Chardonnay (about $20) at the Wente Winery. The wine is a WOW. The winery is gorgeous. Lucky are the moms who find this wine on their patio or dining room table.

Read More

Exec Chef Chat… on Oceania Cruise Line’s Impressive Marina Ship

Have you been on a cruise and ever wonder how all of that fine cuisine and afternoon teas are orchestrated? Join Deirdre on just that exploration with an Executive Chef aboard Oceania’s Marina Ship. She will give you a peek behind the kitchen door, and how Chef Alban’s love of cooking was born. She also explores all the 10+ dining venues, specialty restaurants, wine dinner programming and more! 

Grinning waiters giving thumbs up behind a luscious blue martini

Our Baltic cruise began in Stockholm-Sweden, with stops in Tallinn-Estonia, St. Petersburg-Russia, Helsinki-Finland, Gdansk-Poland, Berlin-Germany, Copenhagen-Denmark, Oslo-Norway and we disembarked in Southampton-England (just about two hours south west of London). This epic itinerary allowed us to visit two spots that have had on our “bucket list” for some time. A visit to the Hermitage Museum was so impressive. It was magical, historical, and truly epic to see these famous works of art. Most have not been seen outside of this museum. Exploring the wonders of St. Petersburg, Russia was a real treat. And on the back-end of our sojourn, to visit Stonehenge (just outside of Southampton) was equally impressive. It was a fabulous trip and we enjoyed exploring all of it with our good friends from Southern California.

Read More

Visit Greece! Individual Tailor-made Press Trips Just for Members

Nowhere in Greece offers the exotic story lines like Halkidiki. The region is the perfect combination of distinctive Greek culture, unspoiled landscapes, dazzling colors and mysterious fragrances.

Beautiful rustic rocky beach with crystal clear aqua ocean and cypress tree in Greece

Come experience the glorious natural setting, the famous culinary fare of the region, and the living traditions of its people. This is a place where all your senses will come to life and boundless stories can be told. Think chic, cosmopolitan beaches, secluded bays, and out-of-the-way coves. Just the tantalizing scent of the pine trees and the salt brine of the sea bring relaxation to the body and spirit, leaving you to develop stories your readers will never forget.

Read More

8 Ways to Save Money on Your Summer Holiday

Rest and relaxation aren’t the only things you get from vacation. If you aren’t careful, you could end up with a lot of debt. A recent survey by Learn Vest of vacation-going Americans found 74% went into debt to bankroll their getaway, spending $1,108 on average for a single trip. Of those surveyed, most spent about 10% of their annual income on one trip, and most of them did not budget for the trip in advance.

Saving money in jar for travel vacation with passport & camera

The good news is that vacations don’t have to be such an enormous expense. There are ways to rein in spending and still have the vacation of your dreams. Check out the following eight ways to do so:

Read More

Juneau Eagle Farts? Feed Your Mind & Bellies in Alaska

Attention: Tourism and PR industry professionals. You Need Market Visibility. We Can Help You Get It. IFWTWA will connect you with top journalists to promote your region. If you run a professional tourism agency, hotel, public relations firm, theme park, convention and visitors bureau, destination management organization, tourist board or other entity with a big footprint in your area, you know your venue: your city, your region, your country. But how do you get the word out to potential guests and visitors? Consider an Associate membership with IFWTWA and engage directly with our experienced writers, bloggers and content creators. "We Don't Just Talk: We Do"


Big Blend Magazine page spread Juneau Alaska & IFWTWA

Read More