Press Pass Logo - September 2019

Volume 37, Issue 06, September 2019

In this Issue:

From the Editor

Greetings, everyone!Chris Cutler - Pretty blond sitting behind her computer desk with blurred bookshelves in background

Whether you’ve been traveling the world or staying put, I hope you’ve had a productive and fun summer. I know that rain was a pain in the beginning, but now the heat has become oppressive. Let’s hope cooler—but not cold—weather is around the corner.

A lot of great things are happening in IFWTWA. I hope by now that you’ve had a chance to read the digital issue of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, and I’d like to thank everyone who submitted articles and photos. I’m already gearing up for the next issue, and I hope you’ll consider pitching an idea. See the information in the body of this newsletter.

I’d like to encourage you to attend the IFWTWA Conference in Santa Fe this November. Linda Milks and her committee have worked hard to plan an enriching experience for everyone.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Robyn Nowell of Australia for taking over as marketing manager for Food, Wine, Travel Magazine. She’s handling the day-to-day posts to Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

I’d also like to thank Mary Chong for her work on the magazine since 2016. Mary is retiring due to her busy schedule, and we’ll miss her great insight and help.

Ciao,Chris signature

2019 IFWTWA Conference Ad

Board Notes

by Linda Kissam, President

Most companies or organizations have a board of directors, and often employees or members have no idea what the boards do. If you wonder what IFWTWA’s Board of Directors does during its monthly meetings, we use these board notes to give you a little insight. There is a reason for everything the board does, and through committee reports, we keep each other updated on our objectives, work, needs, and goals. We will print Board Notes here monthly so that you have an opportunity to learn about the work that the board and committees have been doing.

Close of hand holding a pen poised over a note padTreasurer: Our financial records are reviewed each month by a CPA. Currently, we have a strong cash flow. For the period ending July 31, 2019, Cash and cash equivalents - Checking $14,200. Cash and cash equivalents - Savings $55,905 TOTAL. ASSETS $70,100. You can find three years of IFWTWA’s Annual Statement of Financial Position on the website. As a reminder, we have three sources of income: Membership, Conference, and media trip fees. The conference is the largest moneymaker. How it goes, determines what benefits, services, and contractors we can afford for the following year. We especially appreciate your support by attending the conference

Membership: After two months as membership chair, we have gained the following in terms of our membership. Total Membership as of August 1st = 207 members; Regular Members = 187; Associate Members = 14; Emeritus Members = 6

Publications: This has been a busy month for communications.

Food, Wine, & Travel Magazine

Robyn Nowell (Australia) is now heading the marketing for Food, Wine, Travel Magazine. She had been doing Instagram, but she's now handling all social media for us. Chris also asked her to join the editorial board.

The big news is that we published Food, Wine, Travel Magazine on Issuu. It seems to be a hit with members, and we hope that it inspires others to submit. 

Submission guidelines have been redone for both the website and the digital version of the magazine. Send in your pitches now. 

The deadline is Sept. 30. Contact Chris Cutler for additional information.

Chris needs volunteers to work on the magazine website (graphics) and help Robyn with marketing. If you are interested, please contact her at [email protected]

Press Pass

We've been on hiatus but have published the conference newsletter instead. This edition debuts a new logo and look. You are encouraged to submit articles on your area of expertise in food, wine, and travel by the 20th of any month. You can establish a monthly column or just send an article when you have time. Being published in this publication makes a nice addition to your resume. Contact Chris Cutler for additional information.

2019 IFWTWA Board of Directors Graphic

IFWTWA Website: We are 11 months out from the launch of the new website. This is a multifaceted site that is currently being filled with content managed by a contractor via information from our members and the software company. The contractor has a one-year contract to bring the website up to a place where volunteers can manage the content with some direction from our administrator or another contracted party. If you are interested in learning how to work on the website, please contact [email protected].

Conference: This conference will be stellar. Think about investing in yourself. The conference is affordable. You’ll be networking, learning via workshops, and meeting destination hosts. I say this each year, “This is one of the best conferences ever.” Each year our conference leader learns from the past leaders in terms of what worked, what needed improvement and then puts their own personal spin on the programming. Chair Linda Milks has done an outstanding job blending all the past and current trends to make this a conference YOU shouldn’t miss. You can bring a non-member to the conference. The price is slightly higher for them, but not enough to deter them from signing up.

Media Trips: See details in the following article, "2019 Press Trips Committee Results." 

Social Media: The focus of the social media sites lately has been the promotion of the annual conference and membership. Posts are being shared on Instagram and Facebook. Promoting the conference will continue to be a focal point over the next couple of months.

The new Facebook members-only group appears to have reached the level of participants that the previous one had when it was archived. The transition has been successful with no issues. Tweaks to the group that adds value to the membership will continue to be explored such as “follow me, and I’ll follow you” daily social media threads as well as opportunities for people to share their professional social media profiles.

Numbers Report:

  • IFWTWA Twitter followers (managed by Tom Westerhof) – 7495 (gain of 6)
  • IFWTWA Facebook likes (managed by Tom Westerhof) – 3648 (gain of 75)
  • IFWTWA Instagram followers (managed by Tom Westerhof) – 481 (gain of 5)
  • IFWTWA Pinterest followers (currently vacant) – 800/63 (gain of 28/loss of 22)

Chair Tom Westhoff needs volunteers immediately. He cannot continue to keep up all the requirements of this job up by himself. If you have a few hours a week to help out, please contact Tom. I am afraid if we do not get the volunteers he needs, our services and benefits in this area will be drastically reduced.

You could win the next IFWTWA Excellence in Journalism Award

by Allen Cox, Excellence in Journalism Awards Chair

It's Time to Win on Typewritten Page of Bright Green Typewriter 
Did you know that every year, an IFWTWA member wins $500 and a certificate as the winner of the Excellence in Journalism Award? This year, that winner could be you. All you have to do is submit your entry by October 31. 

Go to Excellence in Journalism to read the eligibility criteria and access the submission instructions and the self-nomination form

Tips for increasing your odds of winning:

  • Make sure your submission is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Submit your best, most compelling work.
  • Choose a submission that you have already receives positive feedback on in social media, from an editor or in blog comments.

Each entry is carefully and objectively evaluated by a professional editor. The evaluation criteria include the following:

  • Technical elements: grammar, spelling, punctuation
  • Originality and creativity in the treatment of a subject
  • Clarity and structure of the composition
  • Accuracy of facts and details

The winner will be notified and announced by year-end. 

Excellence in Journalism Award Logo

Check out these links to past winning entries:

I'm looking forward to seeing your entries.

Help the IFWTWA Awards Program make a difference 
100% goes directly to the award of your choice.

Single grape on open book


IFWTWA sincerely appreciates your contribution.
Thank you.

Do you know of a deserving student who should receive the
IFWTWA Hospitality Education Scholarship?

Scholarship coins


Calling for 2019 Scholarship Nominees! 

by Marie-Annick Courtier, Scholarship Program Chair

Chef in kitchen looking at orders

Annual Hospitality Education Scholarship Award

One of the specific purposes of IFWTWA is to provide financial assistance for students preparing themselves for employment in hospitality, travel, and viticulture-enology industries. We provide funds to those educational organizations furthering the development of these industries. The IFWTWA Hospitality Education Scholarship is designed to serve the organizations that meet such purpose and serve the industries IFWTWA supports.

The award is funded by a combination of budgeted IFWTWA dollars and voluntary member donations. Such support is highly needed for students facing higher and higher education costs. We, the IFWTWA members and board members, are proud to provide such help and to have made a difference in those industries for years. One-hundred percent of the association’s contribution goes toward the awardee’s educational expenses and not toward any administrative costs.

Members and Board Members, it is that time of year when we must consider nominees, and as your new IFWTWA Scholarship Program Chair, I need your help!

I need to create a list of potential candidates to bring to the Board, no later than September 30, 2019! Our previous scholarship recipients certainly appreciated your recommendation and support. To suggest your award candidates, please go to the Hospitality Award page and use this form to make your recommendation.

2019 Press Trips Committee Results

by Linda Kissam, Interim Media Trips Committee Chair

Coastline view from inside aircraft

The Press Trips Committee is pleased to share below the results of their 2019 program.
  As a reminder, any member in good standing may apply to any trip as long as their profile is up to date and they meet the requirements set forth by the host. All candidates are chosen by the host. The host sets the date, itinerary, and selection criteria.

All trips are announced to the entire membership via an all-member email. Members are instructed to go to the IFWTWA Website to fill out an application.  The application is vetted by the trips committee. A list of candidates is sent to the host for selection.

Selection is different for each destination. Host selections are generally driven by two main factors: The first is budget. The second is the directive given to the destination PR company or in-house PR person by the destination’s board of directors or state mandates.  These directives include who they want to come in terms of being a writer, blogger, radio show personality, or a combination of all of the above, what experience level they are looking for, and what target audience they are concentrating on.

It is not uncommon for a host to only want writers from their general area.  Some want a variety of domestic (US) writers, others will include international writers as well. To be honest, we have gotten down to the selection process on a few trips where no one was chosen by the host, and the trip was canceled.

The committee is tasked to provide four domestic trips and one international trip.  Hosts tend to offer trips during the shoulder season. The press trip team was fortunate to have been given strong trip leads in 2019 from members Mary Lansing and Dana Howard. The rest of the trips were curated by the press trips team. If you have strong ties with any CVB or destination, please introduce them to the committee for a 2020 trip, as we are doing the planning now. If you are interested in volunteering for this committee, learning the ropes of how to solicit trips and network with destination hosts the committee would love to have you. You can contact the interim chair, Linda Kissam, [email protected].

As you will see below a variety of members in different geographical area were chosen for the 2019 trips. No one person went on more than one trip this year; however, it is not unusual for some members to be selected for more than one trip in a single year. Again, it is up to the members to apply and the host to choose. You can see the names of the people who were selected by going to the media trips results pages on our IFWTWA Website.



  • 2019-2020 Halkidiki, Greece
    Individual fams are offered. Dates and itinerary are a cooperative effort between host and member. Members may apply 12 months a year for available slots. We currently have five members from around the US working with the host on their 2019 or 2020 itinerary.

Story Opportunities

by Debbra Dunning Brouillette, Volunteer

Woman writing in journal with laptop nearby

Gastro Obscura Magazine

Gastro Obscura magazine is Atlas Obscura’s food vertical, bringing the world stories on fascinating foods and people who love them. The magazine is seeking stories with a strong sense of place. Why can your story happen nowhere else? What will your tale reveal to the reader about a specific community, country, or culture? Profiles on singular dishes or foods are rarely published.

Review pitch guidelines here  
Pay rate is generally around 40 cents a word.
Email: [email protected] 

VitaBella Magazine

VitaBella Magazine is focused on celebrating life through food, health, travel, and insights. Contributions connecting readers to inspiring, useful, and health-filled information are welcomes.

Review pitch guidelines here
Email: [email protected]

Outpost Magazine

Outpost magazine especially loves inspiring longform travel journalism, beautiful high-resolution photos from around the world, and comprehensive travel guides to little-seen destinations. While much of the Canadian publication has a Canadian slant, the staff has a strong mandate to accept stories from authors anywhere in the world.

Pay rates for submissions are negotiated on an individual basis. Canadians contributors are paid through e-transfers; international contributors through PayPal.

Review contribution information here

Get to Know Our New Members

by Cori Solomon, Membership Chair

Row of wine glasses with various colored wine


Phillips Ward

Phillip Ward AvatarPhillip has been the deputy editor at VISIT FLORIDA, the Sunshine State’s tourism marketing agency, since 2012. Previously, he was variously a reporter, editor, and manager for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. He resides in Tallahassee with his wife, a freelance writer.

Rose Palmer

Rose Palmer AvatarAfter a diverse 25 year career as a PhD chemist, I took early retirement and now use my time to explore the world and my creativity. Travel, photography, and quilting have been my lasting passions and provide the framework for my continuing learning experiences. I love learning about and sharing the unique cultural and scenic aspects of the places I visit. I am always on the lookout for unique experiences and like to focus my traveling lens on history, art, architecture, nature, and soft adventures. I like to write stories that would interest the educated and adventurous age 50+ creative traveler like me and illustrate them with captivating photography. I also use my travels and photography to design quilts inspired by my travel locations. I share my stories as I explore the world in search of travel adventures, quilting activities, and beautiful photos to help inspire your next life experience.

Judi Cohen

Judi Cohen AvatarJudi's goal is to die with memories, not dreams. Lover of travel, food, wine, and everything off-the-beaten-path, Judi photographs and writes about her experiences and has traveled to over 80 countries on six continents so far.

Judi's goal is to write about travel to inspire others to fulfill their travel and wellness dreams. She has deep experiential travel knowledge about destinations, food, and wine, and she is a connoisseur of small-ship cruising. Judi is a contributing writer on small-ship cruising for She also has written blog posts for a number of travel agencies in Canada. Prior to moving to travel writing, Judi was a senior executive in engineering and construction for 35 years, living and working on projects around the world. She is trained as a health coach and a travel advisor, but she has turned her energy and time to writing and photography as she continues to travel with her husband, children, and friends. No doubt Judi's passions are travel, food, wine, and wellness!

Suzanne Solomon

Suzanne created Gluten Free Destinations as a resource for the celiac and gluten-intolerant/allergic traveler. The site continues to provide celiac travel advice, but it has also evolved into a travelogue featuring reviews and photos of various locales, accommodations, and restaurants. Suzanne co-founded a faculty-led, short-term study abroad program in 2012, and she is also a college consultant, higher education administrator, and former attorney.

Gary Baker

Gary Baker AvatarGary is a freelance food, wine, and travel writer based in Northern California. He loves to write about wine and has traveled to many of the world's well-known wine regions in Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Chile, and of course, his own backyard—California.

Gary also writes about food, spirits, sailing, and travel. When he's not writing, he's golfing. Gary often travels and writes with his wife, Pam Baker. He has been published in regional, national and international publications including International Living, Australia and New Zealand Magazine, Via Magazine, Northwest Travel and Life, Porthole Cruise, and Upscale Living. Read some of his work at Pam and Gary Baker.

John Macinnes

John Macinnes AvatarJohn is a professional journalist (26 years) who writes for a series of weekly newspaper titles in Scotland. As part of that role, and for former newspaper employers, he has been reviewing food, travel and accommodation for nearly 20 years.

John is a huge exponent of quality Scottish produce and believes we have some of the finest meat and seafood available. John is also very privileged to have eaten many dishes, from various cultures around the world during my travels and felt the time was right to share those experiences with my new blog/website John Macinnes Grub and Travel Guides.

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly AvatarJulia is an experienced reporter, novelist, and award-winning food writer. She has worked in print journalism for 33 years and 15 years ago started writing about travel. Most of her work appears in The Bangor Daily News (Maine) where she is a writer on the paper's Features Desk in addition to staff writer for BDN's sister publications Hello Homestead and Bangor Metro Magazine. Bayly has written about adventure travel, food, wine, and food policy issues in North America and Europe. Most recently, she has started writing about pet-friendly destinations and traveling with her tiny dog Chiclet. She is happiest enjoying a meal of locally sourced food, a craft cocktail, and conversation after a day of bicycling or exploring. She lives with Chiclet, two rescue cats, and a flock of chickens in northern Maine. Find her writing at Travels with Chiclet, Bangor News, and Bangor Metro.

Sharon Kurtz

Sharon Kurtz AvatarSharon is a freelance travel writer and tour leader for a women’s small group tour company. She shares her passion for travel and food by exploring unique customs, culture, and flavors from around the globe. Married with two grown sons, she lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three dogs, but her carry-on is always packed and ready for the next adventure. She is a member of International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance (ITWPA), and TravMedia. She maintains a website and Facebook page where readers and find her published articles at Sharon Kurtz and on

Cassie Kifer

I am a freelance travel & food writer, blogger, and former IFWTWA member. My work has appeared on,, Flight Network, and more. For the last two years, I've worked a day job in communications for a tech startup, so the bulk of my published regional travel writing work has been on contract for the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, a public conservation and land management agency based in San Jose, CA. I'm about to sign a contract with Reedy Press to author a guidebook, "Secret San Jose: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure" (publication: August 2020). My blog, Ever In Transit  is a travel & culinary adventure website offering tips, stories and inspiration for travel to California and destinations around the world. 

Lisa Morales

Lisa Morales AvatarSince 2010, Lisa has operated Allegory PR Services—a boutique public relations and marketing agency. She has extensive experience in the South Florida arts scene as both arts writer and public relations professional with clients that have included Miami Downtown Arts District Association, ACND Gallery of Art, Etra Fine Art, Barry University Fine Arts, Arts for Learning, The Miami Music Teachers Association, the Sicilian Film Festival Miami Beach, Santiago Medina Fine Art, and California artist Blair Cahill. Lisa has also worked in the food and wine industry in the area of special event promotion for clients that include the North American Sommelier Association, Wine by the Bay, and Wynwood Oven. She has recently branched out into the area of commercial real estate.

She is a contributing editor for Widewalls, a Florida contributor to The Culture Trip, and La Ceramica in Italia e nel Mondo. Lisa’s “beats” are the visual arts, food and wine, and Art Basel Miami and satellite fairs. Seeking solace from her PR and marketing life, Lisa cooks and blogs about her food and wine pairing adventures. Lisa has always loved to travel, and now that she's an "empty nester,” she plans on taking at least one trip per year. Most recently, Lisa became a member of the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) and is preparing for the Certified Specialist of Wine exam.

Follow Lisa’s art and cultural adventures on Instagram, Twitter & Tumblr: @allegorypr #MyArtEscape | and Allegory PR

Terumi Pong

Terumi Pong AvatarTerumi has been writing about family travel on her blog, An Emerald City Life, for the past 10 years and specializes in the Pacific Northwest and mobile photography. She spends her weekdays in Seattle and weekends in the mountains, and she lives for adventuring with her husband and twin boys.

Jaime Scilingo

Jamie Scilingo AvatarJaime is a suburban Chicago-based travel blogger focused on making travel more accessible to people with anxiety disorders. She focuses on quiet travel locations, that is, places that aren't over-touristed. She is also a WSET Level 2 with Merit certified sommelier and the owner of a small medical equipment company. In addition to travel, she covers wine and life in the Chicago suburbs. Her blog, will be celebrating its third year in August of 2019. She is the Brand Ambassador for her local DuPage County CVB and speaks English and French.


New Mexico Wine Logo   

We Are New Mexico Wine
New Mexico Wine & Grape Growers Association is a 501c6 non-profit organization that was created in 1991 as the trade association for the winery and vineyards of New Mexico. For 28 years, our staff and members have worked together to build a robust industry of family-owned wineries throughout the state. In 2016, we launched our new VivaVino marketing campaign and shortened our name to New Mexico Wine. 
At New Mexico Wine, we are dedicated to three primary programmatic areas. Our mission is to Promote, Protect and Educate.

New Mexico Wine—Christopher Goblet - New Mexico

Tourism Santa Fe logo   

Uncover your different in The City Different
Santa Fe, New Mexico is a city unlike any other, truly living up to its tagline, The City Different, at every turn. With legendary history and culture around every corner, an art scene that spans from traditional to contemporary, accommodations with a local feel yet world-class status, award-winning cuisine that’s as eclectic as it is sumptuous, and countless experiences to encounter, you’re sure to uncover something different about yourself when you visit.

Tourism Santa Fe—Joanne Hudson—New Mexico

CityPASS Logo

Leave with more than you came with.
"To all of us at CityPASS, that line is the very essence of why we do what we do.

CityPASS—Deborah Wakefield - Oregon

Travel Medford logo 

Let Medford be your launchpad for sampling everything Southern Oregon has to offer.

Travel Medford—Ashley Cates - Oregon


Association Recognitions

Blurred image of clapping hands

It’s an honor to introduce you to our new members and to give recognition to members having anniversaries over the summer months. We thank our new and anniversary members for including IFWTWA on their pathway to success. Your choice to work hard, think positive, network, and use your member benefits bring you to a whole new level of achievement. Way to go! 


10 years

Tom Plant

5 years

Linda Stewart
Freelance Writer

Catherine Sweeney
Traveling with Sweeney

Marianthi Milona
Milona in Greece

* * * * *


April - May
Philip Ward—Florida
Rose Palmer—Pennsylvania

New Mexico Wine—Christopher Goblet - New Mexico
CityPass—Deborah Wakefield - Oregon
Gary Baker—California
Jaime Scilingo—Illinois
Tourism Santa Fe—Joanne Hudson—New Mexico
John MacInnes—United Kingdom
Julia Bayly—Maine
Suzanne Solomon—New York
Terumi Pong—Washington State

Travel Medford—Ashley Cates - Oregon
Cassie Kifer—California
Judi Cohen—Ontario, Canada
Lisa Morales—Florida
Sharon Kurtz—Texas


IFWTWA Resources: Ways to Connect with our Members and Experts

Crystal & red wine toast

Connect with fellow IFWTWA experts. Join Forums & create Social Circles on IFWTWA's website. Meet members in our private Facebook Members Group. Keep up-to-date, connect for retweets, "like" member's posts, follow each other, attend events, and work with the board of directors by volunteering on committees. It's fun to interact with your colleagues to enhance and grow both your and their professional goals. Reach out today.

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Chris Cutler
Executive Editor

Press Pass newsletter is a publication of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Assoc.
Distributed in-part via email; maintained in-full on this site for members only.

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