Over the years, many members have asked, what happens to all of those bottles? They are, of course, referring to the wines that are entered into the OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition which is co-hosted by the OCWS. The entries take quite a journey from wineries to a multitude of uses once they arrive at the Orange County Fair & Event Center (OCFEC). Each winery submits six bottles so each step involves a lot of duplicate maneuvers. Last year there were over 2,700 entries with 126 varietals!
The wines are received by the Wine Competition Committee and then cataloged and labeled in preparation for the judging in June. The entry to this competition is free! Bottles are labeled with a unique code for each bottle. The bottles that will be judged are “bagged” and labeled, sorted by sugar level and price categories so that wines are judged fairly to ensure a high priced wine is not judged against a low priced wine. Two of these six bottles are then sorted and put into judging categories, e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon (CS-1) bottles “A” and “B.” The bottles are then judged in a blind tasting by a panel of five judges with the “B” bottle held in reserve in the event the judges wish to re-judge a wine.
After the Competition, the remaining wines are then sorted again by varietal and placed into groups—those that were awarded a medal and those which were not. These wines are put into the OCWS Cellar and are offered to the public at The Courtyard during the annual Orange County Fair. Some are available as “Award” winning wines for taste. Others are used and poured on the “varietal” side for sale by the glass. This is a great opportunity to try many wines in one location, so come on by and tell your family and friends to come to The Courtyard and support the OCWS.
The remaining bottles are then re-sorted by varietal, medal and price and placed into either verbal lots or silent auction lots. This is the second fundraising event that makes the Commercial Wine Competition possible. This year’s Auction is Saturday, April 6; sign up online or even at the door. Cheers!
– Bill Redding, President