May 2019

President’s Message

The months of June through September are among the busiest times for the OCWS. In June, the Commercial Wine and Home Wine Competitions are held. The Commercial Wine Competition will either be in progress or completed by the time The Wine Press hits your mailbox. The Home Wine Competition is two weeks later this year, Saturday, June 15. With a brief break, we will enter into a very active wine Courtyard during the annual OC Fair held from July 13 thru August 12. In September, election of Directors for the OCWS Board and the Annual Business meeting will be held.

All of this is not a surprise to many of you!  These activities and events take a tremendous amount of member volunteers to accomplish. With my apologies in advance for anyone not mentioned, I would like to spotlight some of the major efforts that are currently or will be taking place to accomplish the events mentioned.

The Commercial Competition Committee, chaired by Leslie Brown and Head of Judges Kevin Coy, supported by the Committee has been recruiting wineries—thanks to Ken Scott and Terry McLean; receiving and cataloging wines for judging—thanks to Liz and Lloyd Corbett and crew. The weekend of May 31 through June 2 will see hundreds of our members working to bring wines and supplies to and from the Hilton Hotel, serving as stewards, score verifiers, data processors, and drying thousands of glasses! Thanks to Ken and Irene Scott for organizing this small army of volunteers.

The Home Wine Competition requires judges, stewards, scoring, glass washing and drying, and food servers. This event is once again under the care of Kevin Donnelly and Jim Downey. Thanks to all of you who have signed up to make this event a success.

The Courtyard will once again be staffed by hundreds of volunteers serving and educating the public about wine and the mission of the OCWS. Thanks to Brian McDonald, Fran Gitsham, and Rich Skoczylas for leading The Courtyard Committee.

See you all at the Fair!

– Bill Redding, President

Rhone Mini-Tasting Wrap Up With Winners Recipes

The April Mini-Tasting featured Rhone style wines and was held at five host sites throughout the county. Each of the five flights of wine featured a California wine and a French wine. There were four flights of reds, and the tasting started with a white flight. Seven of the ten wines placed in the first, second, or third place at one or more of the host sites.

The overall favorite was Secret Indulgence from Emancipation in St. Helena; second place was Chateau Puech-Haut La Closerie du Pic from Languedoc-Roussillon, France; third was Amapola Creek’s Cuvee Alis from Sonoma County; and fourth was Margerum’s M5 from Santa Barbara. The four favorite wines across the five host sites are:

Place Wine & Winery Year Price Description
1st Secret Indulgence Emancipation

St. Helena, CA

2015 $29.99 Blend: 49% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 11% Petite Sirah, 11% Mourvèdre

RP 92 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate; A blend mainly of Grenache and Syrah with some Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre and Mission coming mostly from Paso Robles and Mendocino.

2nd Chateau Puech-Haut
La Closerie du PicLanguedoc-Roussillon, France
2014 $25.99 #48 wine in VinePair’s Top 50 of 2018

RP 94 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate; Full-bodied, rounded and textured, with sweet tannin and a voluptuous, fruit-forward style.

3rd Amapola Creek
Cuvee Alis
Sonoma, CA
2013 $46.99 RP 92 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
66% Grenache, 22% Mourvèdre and 12% Syrah; It is Provençal, deep, full-bodied, and a total lusty treat.
4th Margerum M5

Santa Barbara, CA

2016 $25.99 RP 90 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

42% Grenache, 36% Syrah, 14% Mourvèdre, 4% Counoise and 4% Cinsault; Reminiscent of a good Côtes du Rhône, the 2016 M5 opens in the glass with aromas of smoky black cherry, blackberry, spice, cassis and dried flowers. On the palate, it’s juicy, medium to full-bodied and supple, with a sweet core of dark fruit, good length and a youthfully primary finish.

In addition, attendees brought a delicious dish to share and then voted on a Chef of the Evening. The results of the Chef of the Evening at each host site are:

  • Hosts Gisella & Gregory Brett: Tom Richey – Beef Stew
  • Hosts Virginia & Karl Kawai: Eric Kalnes – “Amazing” dish
  • Hosts Else & Don Phillips: Kim Meier – Italian Penne with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives & Cheese
  • Hosts Ronna & Craig Rowe: Scott Lewis – Smoked Tri-Tip
  • Hosts Kim & Steven Rizzuto: Paula & Bob Becker – Cantaloupe Port Sorbet

NOTE: Three dishes tied on the initial ballot, including June & Vincent Porto’s Lasagna and Carolyn & Phil Wallace’s Coleslaw.

The detail scores by site will be posted on the OCWS website. Congratulations to all the winners! A big thank you to all of the hosts! Please send your recipes to George Cravens at for possible publication on the OCWS website.

– George Cravens, Director

Winner Recipe –


Paula Becker

From Ice Cream:  The Ultimate Cold Comfort

By Jeri Quinzio

Makes one quart


1 large or 2 small cantaloupes, peeled, seeded and cut up to make 3 cups

Pinch of salt

¾ cup of sugar

¼ cup of port

3 T of orange juice

  1. Cut up the cantaloupe and measure.  To make a quart of sorbet, you’ll need 3 cups.
  2. In a blender or food processor, puree cantaloupe with the salt and sugar until the sugar is thoroughly blended throughout the mixture
  3. Add the port and the orange juice and blend.
  4. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.
  5. Churn in your ice cream maker, following manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Store in a tightly covered container in your freezer.

Graber Olive House, a Longtime, Valued Supporter of the OCWS

The Wine Society would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Graber Olive House for their friendship, generosity and continued support over the years.

Graber Olive House has provided their specialty olives to the Commercial Wine and Home Wine Competitions for many years. As you know, palate assault can be extreme even though wine judges may expectorate every sip. The acidity in white wines and tannins in red wines can be a painful experience after a full day of tasting. A small cup of Graber olives is placed alongside each judge, and the olives neutralize the elements in both reds and whites, work wonders for the palate and taste fantastic, too.

Graber olives are hand-picked when they’ve ripened to a cherry-red color, then “cured in covered vats without being oxidized,” according to Graber Olive House. After the curing and canning processes, the olives are of varying shades of nutlike color.

Graber Olive House is located in quiet, serene surroundings. Visitors will be delighted to discover a bit of early California when they visit. Along with olives, Graber Olive House offers many other products, such as crisp California almonds and pistachios, olive oils and elegant gift baskets. You can also visit their website at to have products shipped directly to you.

Graber Olive House is located at 215 E. Fourth Street,
Ontario, CA 91764.