October 2021

President’s Message

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” Oscar Wilde

I believe my kindness in volunteering is given for selfish reasons, however, we all volunteer for our own reasons. I love volunteering because it makes my heart happy. I recently came across the following list of skills of a volunteer and think each one is applicable to the hundreds of OCWS volunteers I have crossed paths with:

  • They Have a Fearless Approach
  • They Have Infinite Patience
  • They Think Creatively
  • They Are Eager to Take Initiative
  • They Stay Humble About Their Work
  • They Are Driven by Passion

The Wine Society seems to tend to create monster volunteers. For me, it took just raising a hand to volunteer at The Courtyard 21 years ago to get me hooked. I had such a great time and found so many people with amazing hearts. Kind, intelligent, fun-loving people that I otherwise would, most likely, never have crossed paths with during this lifetime. Please don’t get me wrong, volunteering for me hasn’t always been fun since I have the tendency, like many of us, to raise my hand just a bit too often and very seldom is the word “no” in my vocabulary, but volunteering most certainly has always been fulfilling.

One thing you can be assured of as a member is that you will be asked repeatedly to volunteer. Volunteerism is not a requirement of membership and solicitation to volunteer does not mean you are obligated. But I promise you, if you have not thrown your hat into the volunteer pool, try it, you won’t regret it. You will meet people you otherwise might not meet; you will share stories and laughter and, I hope, you will find as much enjoyment in volunteering as I have and that your heart will be equally as fulfilled.

This brings me to the point that this organization runs on volunteerism and the old adage that “many hands make for light work.” There are a handful of dedicated people who have the time to volunteer on a regular basis, but it is the many members who have but a few days or just a few hours a year that we would not be able to exist without. With each new board year begins the planning for our annual major events and social programs, as well as an extensive list of administrative functions. I urge you all to look at the 2021/22 List of Responsibilities posted in this edition and see if you can find a bit of time to lend a hand here and there. If you have interest or expertise in any of the areas listed, please contact me or the Chairs listed and, at the very least, see what things are about. You might just be pleasantly surprised!

I urge all of you who can make the time, even for just an hour at an event you consider attending anyway, to try volunteering. It can be truly addictive; just ask anyone who has tried it. Within our organization, it seems to be as much a social experience as any event you attend. In closing, I quote John F. Kennedy when he said: “Every person can make a difference, and every person should try.” I look forward to an incredible year ahead!

– Fran Gitsham, President

Creative Scholarships

After enjoying serving on the Scholarship Committee for the past two years, I would like to thank the Board for allowing me to continue into 2022, and I welcome those ideas from our generous members who are becoming creative with expanding the Scholarship Committee.

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) from 2020 has been extended to 2021 and allows for an additional “above the line” tax deduction for 501(c)(3) charitable gifts made in cash up to $300 for those filing single/separately and up to $600 for those filing jointly.

To the member who was at the Fall BBQ while in the food serving line who told me she worked on another scholarship committee, please get ahold of me. I would like to talk to you. I was wearing gloves and couldn’t write down any information. We have another member who has also volunteered to get involved on the scholarship committee. I can be reached at Les@ocws.org.

$12.50 of each membership goes into the scholarship fund, however dual memberships remain at only $12.50. For those members with dual memberships, you may consider donating your dual $12.50 to the OCWS scholarship fund.

Long-time OCWS members have donated wine. We picked up a collector series of Marilyn Merlot wines, and Roadrunner Ridge Winery donated 150+ cases of wine for our Auction, where the funds raised go specifically toward the scholarship account. We are grateful to those who purchased the lots.

Mira Laguna Winery made a contribution from the Willy and Eileen Ma Foundation to the OCWS scholarship foundations, thank you!

Endeared member, Marjorie Trout, who is an established artist and exhibitor also helped raise scholarship funds at our Auction.

Two months until 2022 and we’re wrapping up the OCWS scholarship year. You can see how many ways there are to creatively contribute!  Go to ocws.org/scholarship program, choose your own personal scholarship donation amount and print a receipt for your records (please contact your tax professional for advice).

Enjoy and Happy Holidays everyone!

– Leslie Hodowanec,
Scholarship Chair

2021 OCWS Wine Auction Recap

Going Once, Going Twice…Gone! And it’s a wrap on the 2021 OCWS Wine Auction! Thank you to all of the amazing volunteers who made this event possible. We had over 70 volunteers help in making this a very successful event. A special thanks to my committee, who has been working since 2020 when we first thought this Auction would have to be held online. In the spring of 2021, we finally received word that we could hold the event in person and secured a venue at the OC Fair & Event Center for October!

2021 OCWS Wine Auction Committee Members:

  • Chris Bruce – Check-out
  • Hank Bruce – Facilities
  • Damian Christian – Volunteers / Staff
  • Kevin Donnelly – Computers
  • Ellen Flynn – Administration
  • Rochelle Randel – Event Food / Wine
  • Bill Redding – Wine Inventory / Advisor
  • Janet Riordan – Check-out
  • Greg Risling – Facilities
  • Rich Skoczylas – Event Food / Wine

At big thank you to all of the volunteers who stepped up to help and make this event a huge success!

The OCWS Wine Auction is one of our major fundraising events and helps support the organizations’ year-round activities and programs such as the OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition, Scholarship Fund, and more! This Auction replaced both the 2020 and 2021 Wine Auctions that were scheduled in the spring.

The event was a huge success thanks to our members who bid against each other for their favorite lots. Thank you to our highest bidders, who included: C.K. & Laurel Allen, Dave Beach, Hank & Chris Bruce, Dennis & Gloria DeRosia, and Kathy & William Schymick.

Here are some highlights and fun facts about this year’s Auction:

  • Attendees: 200 (one of the highest numbers in the history of this event)
  • Silent Auction Lots: 1407
  • Lowest Priced: $29
  • Highest Priced: $180
  • Verbal Lots: 104
  • Lowest Priced: $45
  • Highest Priced: $270
  • PYOL Lots Sold: 96
  • Feet of Paper Used on Silent Auction Tables: Over 500
  • Bottles of Wine Consumed: 120
  • Bratwurst Sliders Consumed: Over 190
  • Sheet Pans of Apple Tart Consumed: 3
  • Large Pumpkin Pies Consumed: 5
  • Pounds Lifted of Wine: Over 81,000
  • Gross Revenue for Event: Over $100,000

If you missed your opportunity to stock up on wine, you won’t have to wait long for your next opportunity!  The 2022 OCWS Wine Auction is scheduled for Saturday, April 9, 2022 at the OC Fair & Event Center. We are currently forming a committee to help put on next year’s event, so contact me if you are interested in serving on this great team of dedicated volunteers at Carolyn@ocws.org!

We look forward to seeing you at the 2022 OCWS Wine Auction!  Cheers!

– Carolyn Christian, Director/Wine Auction Chair

Welcome Back, OCWS, to In-Person Events—BBQ, a Raving Success

Calling the recent membership BBQ a raving success is an understatement. It was clear that OCWS members were more than ready to safely re-engage in person when the event sold out in record time online, and attendance was at full capacity. With awesome food provided by our own Cooks Caucus group, terrific live music by the Three 2 Sevens Band, fun games and, needless to say, terrific wines from the OCWS cellar, the event was destined to be a hit from the very start.

Standing ovations go out to our very own Cooks Caucus which reconvened in style after the COVID-19 hiatus to feed 180 hungry attendees with custom homemade fare, with special kudos going to Lynda Edwards, Bob Topham, Rich Skoczylas, Brian McDonald, George Cravens, Zach Anderson, Bonnie Gausewitz, Dan Donati and Peter Schlundt-Bodien. Additional thanks go out to their day-long support system comprised of Frances Cravens, Linda Flemins, Chris & Hank Bruce, and Teri & John Lane, as well as the many other volunteers and Board members who met every other need to run the event from start to finish.

Without all of our amazing volunteers, this event would not have been as incredible as it was. It was truly an event that gave us all something to celebrate—an amazing organization filled with warm-hearted, fun members. Thank you.

– Sara Yeoman & Fran Gitsham, Event Co-Chairs