June 2019

President’s Message

This year’s highly successful Commercial Wine Competition, co-sponsored by the OCWS and the OCFEC, was held June 1 and June 2 at the Costa Mesa Hilton Hotel. The event took place under the direction of Competition Chair, Leslie Brown and Head of Judges Kevin Coy, along with Jane Goodnight and the Wine Competition Committee. The event featured 2,919 entries with 142 varietals entered. Eighty-nine Judges from throughout California, in panels of 5 judges, scored the wines entered.

To accomplish this precision undertaking required over 250 volunteers who contributed approximately 5,800 hours mailing brochures, making calls to wineries, receiving and cataloging wines under the direction of Liz and Lloyd Corbett, bagging, moving, washing and drying glasses, stewarding, wine verification and scoring, and data entry of the results. After the Competition, the award-winning wines were photographed and the winners made available online at Winecompetition.com. This Commercial Wine Competition website allows anyone to search for wines by award, price, sugar, varietal or winery. Kudos to Stacey Taylor for developing this comprehensive informational Wine Competition site.

A few interesting highlights from this year’s Commercial Wine Competition:

  • Entries—43% of our entries were from wineries new to the Competition. A record 256 cases of wine were delivered on a single day!
  • New Varietals—Falanghina, Macabeo and Norton.
  • Label Competition Awards—Best of Show—1849 Wine Company. Look for the label display at The Courtyard during the OC Fair.

The Home Wine Competition was held last month on Saturday, June 15 and was supported by almost 200 persons who volunteered as judges, stewards, administrators,

Results are In: Commercial Wine Label Competition

The 2019 Commercial Wine Label Competition has completed its review of many new wine labels. The Winner of the Best of Show is a label from the 1849 Wine Company called “Triumph,” a 2015 Red Wine Blend wine. All of the 1849 Wine Company wines feature artist created labels that got the attention of the Label Committee. To see other designs of their labels, please visit their website at 1849wine.com and read about the artist who created them named “Saber.”

The Commercial Label Competition has been an integral part of the OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition for over 15 years. A committee led by long-time members, Karl Tani and Carol Miura, reviewed labels submitted by wineries with their entries or, new this year, labels entered on competition websites used by the OCWS. Out of the many hundreds of labels available for review, the Label Committee narrowed the selection to a group of 12 to 15 finalists in 12 Categories from Architecture to Whimsical, which included a full bottle display for labels that may be screen-printed or otherwise will not show well if separated from the bottle. The Committee then selects up to 10 wines for display at the Commercial Wine Competition. Judges, volunteers, and other guests vote on a favorite in each category. Based on the most votes received, Gold, Silver and Bronze winners are chosen. From the group of Gold Medal winners, the Best of Show is then voted on by the Label Committee.

New procedures were started this year, and it was very gratifying on how wineries reacted when we phoned them to advise they were finalists. We try to use original wine labels if at all possible. But if unable to obtain them, we use the digital image from competition websites. Phone calls are placed to any finalist winery for whom we only have digital copies to try and secure originals.

The Label Committee thanks all the Commercial Wine Competition Judges and OCWS volunteers for their votes and enthusiasm, as well as the many wonderful comments about this year’s labels.

– Sam Puzzo,
Chair, The Label Committee