March 2020

Eberle and ZD Featured Winery Programs Cancelled

Due to the concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wine Society has cancelled the last two events of the Featured Winery Program. This includes Eberle Winery which was scheduled to take place on April 17 and ZD Winery scheduled for May 8.

We will work to get both wineries rescheduled after this pandemic is over. Refunds will be made to those who signed up for the Eberle tasting.

– Rich Skoczylas, Director

Alcohol Server Training for The Courtyard: To Be Rescheduled

As many of you have heard, all TIPs classes scheduled in the Admin Bldg. have been cancelled due to the OCFEC abiding by the stay-in-place order. We are working on options as it will still be a requirement to be TIPs certified. By the time this issue is available, and the air has cleared a bit, we hope to have a Plan B in the works. Thank you for your patience, and continued support of the Wine Society.

– Rochelle Randel & Marcy Ott, 2020 OCWS Courtyard Committee

Commercial Wine Competition Volunteers Needed

The 2020 Competition has been cancelled due to Covid19.
We’ll be back in 2021 bigger and better.

Calling all volunteers! This year the 2020 Commercial Wine Competition will be held Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31 and volunteers are crucial to its success! Please note the date change this year and save the date! This event offers many opportunities to enjoy getting to know your fellow OCWS members and experience some great California wines.

There are many tasks where volunteer help is needed including stewarding, glass drying, and computer input and verification of scores. No training is necessary as newer volunteers will be teamed with experienced competition volunteers.

All volunteer signups are now done online! The volunteer site identifies bagging nights, stewarding days, and other work tasks with dates and times. In order to qualify for stewarding, you will need to sign up for two additional work tasks. We can offer bagging, hotel setup, and moving of wine to and from the competition site. In addition, volunteers can elect to work the sorting event in June. Sign-ups will open online on April 1, 2020 and will be open through April 30. An email announcement will be sent April 1 notifying members that sign-ups are open and provide instructions. Please make sure your email address is up-to-date in the ocws.org website as we will be using your email to send you confirmations.

If you have questions about volunteering, please email us at: Ken@ocws.org or Irene@ocws.org. We look forward to your participation in this very important event!

– Ken & Irene Scott, Volunteer Coordinators

Pinot Noir Mini-Tasting Wrap Up

Over 130 members and guests attended the February 22 Pinot Noir Mini-Tasting at eight host sites. The blind tasting included five flights of two wines each.  Each of the wines were Pinot Noirs, eight from California, one from Oregon, and one from France. Seven of the ten wines finished in the top three at one or more sites. The top two wines were each in the top three at six of the eight sites, and were nearly tied overall. The three favorite wines across all eight host sites are listed below:

Place Winery & Wine Name Year Price Description
1st Walt – La Brisa Vineyard, Sonoma County 2017 $36.99 Three first place, two seconds, and one third place finishes
2nd Bellante Reserve, Dierberg Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley 2016 $65.00 Two first place, three seconds, and one third place finishes
3rd Paul Hobbs, Russian River Valley 2017 $49.98 Two firsts, one second place, and two third place finishes

In addition, the 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 Frances & George Cravens: Linda Downey – “Roast Pork with Cranberries”
  • Host Robin McCormick: David Rutledge – “Grilled Salmon with Spice Rub”
  • Hosts Betty Jo & Jay Newell: Linda McLean – “Chicken Provencal”
  • Hosts Ebo & Mary Anne Neutz: Kevin Donnelly – “Glazed Ham”
  • Hosts Frank & Pat Solis: Eric & Carmen Kaines – “Pork Tenderloin”
  • Hosts Beverly Genis & Bob Topham: Kim & Sam Clark – “Lasagna”
  • Hosts Marcia & James Vaughan: Cheryl Bell – “Chocolate Cake”
  • Hosts Dave & Barbara White: Barbara White “Oven Braised Veal Stew with Black Peppers & Cherries”

Congratulations to all the winners, and a big thank you to the hosts!

– George Cravens, Director

Chris Cunningham Scholarship Endowment

The Board of Directors is very pleased to announce a scholarship endowment to Sonoma State University, in the name of Chris Cunningham. Chris, a treasured member of the OCWS, passed away in early 2018.

While working in the wine industry, Chris became highly respected by wine professionals and recognized for having an excellent palate.

Chris, along with many OCWS members, traveled often to the Russian River area, stopping by tasting rooms to meet the winemakers, discuss their harvest, and to sample their current vintages. Chris’ favorite varietals were Cabernet Sauvignon and Meritage.

This fall, the Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute is launching a new transition program, the first of its kind in the region. The new joint program includes a collaboration with local winegrowers and students from Santa Rosa Junior College who earned their Associate’s Degree in Enology and Viticulture to be able to transfer to SSU to earn their Bachelor’s Degree combining a comprehensive knowledge of the wine business and production of wine. Beside students pursuing degrees in the field of Business, scholarships are awarded for first-hand experience in viticulture and enology to those working “in the fields” of vineyard agriculture and winemaking research.

At this time, any OCWS member considering donating funds to the Chris Cunningham Scholarship account may specify Sonoma State University on their check or donate directly to SSU in the name of Chris Cunningham—OCWS. This is a wonderful way for his friends and family to honor the legacy of Chris and acknowledge his generous contributions to the OCWS in supporting the region’s wine industry and help sustain the California wine industry and Chris’ memory.

Chris, we all raise our glasses to you for honoring us with your trust and thirst for wine appreciation for years to come. On behalf of Sonoma State University and the OCWS, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Cunningham Family. Cheers, Chris!

– Leslie Hodowanec, Scholarship Chair

The Courtyard at the 2020 OC Fair

It’s hard to imagine, but the OC Fair is right around the corner! The OC Fair’s theme this year is ALL FOR FUN. As any of you who have worked at The Courtyard during the Fair know, we have known that it is almost all for fun and the Fair is finally catching up to […]
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President’s Message

Dear OCWS members,

Effective March 16, all events on the Orange County Fairgrounds were cancelled for the next eight weeks by the Governor of California. This includes the Wine Auction, meetings, work parties, and other Fairground scheduled activities. As the OCWS transitions to a remote working environment, office support will be up and running and information will continue to be distributed to our membership via email and available on our website at ocws.org

Additionally, the Eberle winery event in April and the ZD winery event in May at the Avenue of the Arts hotel have been canceled as the wineries have decided to do so under the current circumstances.

Due to restrictions and closures at food venues, the March 25th Dine with Wine at King’s Fish House, the April 26th Brunch at Newport Landing and the May 16th OCWS Spring BBQ have been canceled.

Our required TIPS training will also require some re-scheduling.

We are trying our best to get updates out to our membership who have signed up for upcoming events.   Please feel free to contact the Chair of the event which can be found on our website under About->Our Organization->Director Responsibilities.  Since most notifications are done using your email address listed in your My Profile under your account information please keep this information current.

As you have no doubt received numerous emails from organizations about the impact of the COVID-19 we are also working on these precautionary measures for the health and safety of our membership.  I am asking for your patience as we work through these difficult times for our membership, our communities and our nation.

Sincerely,

Bill Redding