November 2020

A Taste of Appreciation

Our members can further support “our” colleges and universities by tasting the bounty of their wines and culinary talents too!  Each of the college personalities are as individual as the varietals they produce. Here is a “taste” of what you can find on the OCWS scholarship menu: The recently constructed Justin and J. Lohr Center for Wine and Viticulture is producing student and commercial wines sponsored by established industry professionals and incorporates a student-run organization “Vines to Wines.” Their new Wine Club offers eight varietals, a case value pack, gifts and will ship. When you order, they will include a newsletter detailing the production, alumni stories and food pairing suggestions with each varietal. The LEED Platinum Teaching & Research Winery at UC Davis has set goals in Viticulture & Enology (V&E), production, design and conservation research to build the most advanced winery and the most sustainable winery in the world. Review the paper on “Wildfire Impact on CA Grapes and Wine” that examines smoke exposure and smoke tainting from recent CA wildfires. Another fine way to enjoy tastings are with Advanced Culinary Arts Degrees in Baking and Pastry. OCC is our next door neighbor, so when they reopen make a reservation at The Captain’s Table on Thursdays for lunch, or specialty dinners for $14. The students apply their skills including preparation, waiting on guests, dining room service and 4-course gourmet banquet-style plates in American and Old World styles of culinary arts. The Viticulture and Winery Tech Foundation at Napa Valley College was the first commercial community college campus winery, and they produce and will ship five varietals. Take a taste of their website research papers on Categories of Wine, Best Wine Regions, Tips for Choosing Wines, Rarely Known Facts, and Histories of European, and Chinese and Western Asian wines. The Santa Maria Campus celebrated their 5th year as a commercial winery. The OCWS just received eight student thank you letters and they are truly “grapeful.”  Allan Hancock Winery has wine tasting on campus, will ship several varietals, and offers a Sparkling Blanc de Noir. You can join the AHC Wine Club and they ship your selection options. Take their fun survey to help you decide “What Wine Matches Your Personality?”  (Mine was Pinot Noir.) Fresno State is celebrating their 20th year of V&E in wine production and marketing. Visit the Gibson Farm Market to purchase “all things grown on campus,” including produce, nuts, wines and other products produced by students at The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences & Technology. They offer gift boxes that can be custom arranged from farm to you, and their FSU Wine Club will ship selected varietals and combinations that will “bring something new in every bottle.” Sonoma State also accepts V&E transfer students from Allan Hancock College and now from Napa Valley College. The students take V&E research and production to the next level in the field of Business and Marketing, both locally and globally. You can view a beautiful virtual campus tour. SSU recipients will always remember the Chris Cunningham endowment which is now helping to take the OCWS to the next level of appreciation worldwide.

This past year we have introduced our members to scholarship opportunities and maybe holiday ideas. Take a taste of the inspiring recipient thank you letters on our OCWS website. We hope this menu may help you select which one college, or all, to help support dedicated students in our final month of 2020 fundraising.

You can do it all at It’s as easy as a few clicks, and you can print a receipt for tax purposes. The CARES Act provides tax incentives for this year only. Thank you to our generous members for the donations received already. 

While we look forward to 2021, Wine Up, fill the scholarship glass and appreciate these unique “tastes” of OCWS colleges and universities. When you order, tell them thanks from all of us at the OCWS. Happy Holidays everyone!

     – Leslie Hodowanec, Director & Scholarship Chair

OCWS Volunteer Opportunities

The Orange County Wine Society has always been an organization with countless volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Despite the cancellation of many of our events due to the pandemic, we […]
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“Best of” Recipe & Wine Pairings—December 2020

By the time you read this first article in a series of “Best of” offerings, Thanksgiving will be just a fleeting memory, but I’m pretty sure many of you would have had a delicious homemade meal accompanied by an amazing Pinot Noir which, in my house, is the wine of choice to accompany turkey.

With the help of George Cravens who, in better non-COVID times, coordinated the Mini-Tasting gatherings, and with the flavors of the start of the holiday season still lingering in my mind, I am pleased to share with you in the coming months, while awaiting in-person gatherings again, some of the award-winning recipes and wine pairings from the recent past.

Pinot was the wine of choice for the last pre-COVID Mini-Tasting held on February 22 of this year, with the following wines taking the top three spots:

1st Place—Paul Hobbs, Russian River Valley

2nd Place—Bellante Reserve, Dierberg Vineyard,
   Santa Maria Valley

3rd Place—2017 La Brisa Vineyard, Sonoma County

Interestingly to me, none of the winning dishes of the night even came close to resembling turkey. There was Roast Pork at the Cravens’ home ala Linda Downey, Grilled Salmon at Robin McCormick’s ala David Rutledge, Chicken Provencal at the home of the Newall’s ala Linda McLean, Glazed Ham from Kevin Donnelly at the Neutz’ home, Pork Tenderloin from Eric and Carmen Kaines at the Solis’ home, Lasagna ala Kim and Sam Clark at the Topham’s home and, Chocolate Cake by Cheryl Bell at the home of Marcia and James Vaughan. 

I know that just the change in seasons and the reminder of what was sampled that night makes me want to open a terrific bottle of wine and dabble in the kitchen, but the winning recipe that caught my eye and has me salivating was the submission by Barbara White (which, by no coincidence had Pinot in it) of a veal dish that she and her husband, David, presented while hosting the evening at their own home. Thank you Barb for sharing this dish with all of us.

Wishing everyone a Merry and Happy Everything during this month of holiday magic. 

May you all be well and happy and drinking fabulous wines while puttering in the kitchen!

– Fran Gitsham, Contributing Writer

Oven Braised Veal Stew with Black Pepper and Cherries


2 lb. boneless veal stew meat cut into 2-inch pieces

¼ tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. olive or canola oil

¾ cup boiling water

2 Tbsp. veal demi-glace (try Williams Sonoma)

2 cups fresh or undrained thawed frozen pitted cherries

2½ Tbsp. honey

1 cinnamon stick

1 cardamom pod

1 dried bay leaf

1 cup dry red wine (Syrah, B arbara, Pinot Noir) optional

1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

½ package of flat butter noodles

Steps. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place veal pieces in bowl; sprinkle all over with pepper and 1 tsp salt. Sprinkle with flour and toss to coat. Melt butter with oil in 5 to 6 qt Dutch oven over high heat. Working in 2 batches (if necessary), add veal; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 6 to 7 minutes per batch. Transfer veal to a bowl using a slotted spoon; set aside. Pour off drippings from the Dutch oven.

Stir together ¾ cup boiling water and demi-glace mixture, cherries, honey, cinnamon, cardamom bay leaf and optional red wine to Dutch oven; bring to a boil over high heat, scraping bottom and sides of oven to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover; nestle veal in the cherry mixture.

Cover and roast in preheated oven until veal is very tender, about 90 minutes. Remove and discard cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaf. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately over noodles.

Optional Thickening. Deglaze the stew. Pour the veal, cherry stew into a bowl through a sieve. Place veal, cherry mixture in a bowl and set aside. Return the sauce to the Dutch oven and add ½ cup heavy cream. Heat over medium heat until the sauce has thickened; 10-15 minutes. Return veal, cherry mixture to the sauce to Dutch oven and reheat over medium heat 10 minutes.

Make Ahead. Stew can be made up to 3 days ahead; let cool then cover and refrigerate. Reheat gently.

Do You Want to Write About It?

Wine itself is obvious. It represents so many things—contents of the bottle reach out to a time, to a place, to people, to food and to hospitality. To be engaged with this special life force, to connect through our senses and know others connect with it in the same way, is a reason why we all like wine! What are your thoughts on the matter?

Greek poet, Homer, said it best, “it is the wine that leads me on, the wild wine that sets the wisest man to sing at the top of his lungs, laugh like a fool—it drives the man to dancing…it even tempts him to blurt out stories better never told.” Contrary to Homer, The Wine Press wants you to share your story, your experience, that moment in time when your travels have taken you across the California wine regions to a new discovery.

There is a very good chance that most of us have heard of or visited the most well-known wine regions of California, or the world for that matter—Napa and Sonoma. Have you reached beyond the hub of California wine tourism and escaped into and experienced other wine regions? Talk about it, put pen to paper and share it.

The Wine Press would like to publish your story, even if it’s just a one time contribution. The decision is yours. Topics should be California-inclusive. A few suggestions you might like to think about:

· Hidden gems of California’s lesser known wine regions

· An area that captured your attention with its natural beauty, or a town stuck in time

· Incredible California wineries that have been producing some of the best wine for decades

· A unique wine event

· A varietal that literally took your breath away

· A relationship that began as a wine match

There are endless possibilities of what you can write about.

Contact me at to get the conversation started!

– Linda Mihalik, Editor

A little Wine Trivia:

Keep an Eye on Those Bubbles. Bubbles in wine have been observed since ancient Greece and were superstitiously attributed to evil spirits or the phases of the moon!

Big Nose Wine Sale

As a continuation of our November Winery Webinar, Big Nose Winery has offered our members a special sale. They are offering our members a 25% discount on all their wines. […]
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