July 2022

President’s Message – From the Heart

I have had the pleasure of being President of the OCWS twice now, four years apart, and have tried to use this column wisely as a forum to share some of the history of the organization, to give you a peek into the workings behind the scenes, and to highlight the magnitude of just what it takes to run this amazing organization. This article is a reaffirmation of something I wrote in 2018 and is different from other articles I have written in that I want to tell you why I think the OCWS is so incredible and why it holds a huge place in my heart.

To me, the Orange County Wine Society is a microcosm of what the entire world should be. We have members ranging from their 20s to their 90s, members of all races, religions, political affiliations, and sexual orientations. We have doctors, lawyers, professors, law enforcement, salespeople, white and blue-collar workers. We have people that live from check to check and multi-millionaires. But none of this matters because what everyone in this organization has is heart and passion, and they don’t care about the trimmings or the labels. They care about the success of the OCWS, its educational mission and fundraising, and the camaraderie that nowhere else in my life has been found elsewhere. This group has hundreds of people willing to go out of their way to hold others up and come together for a better cause than oneself. Absolutely amazing in my estimation!

I have watched the people around me circle and embrace those in need of support as often as I have seen them laugh, dance, occasionally drink (okay, so that’s a bit of an understatement), and work their tails off to make every aspect of our eclectic group a raving success. On a personal note, this group has held my heart at the highest points in my life, the years after my husband and I joined, and at the lowest point, when I was widowed. It was people within the OCWS that encouraged me to get back out into the world again, lifted me up and gave me the courage to help lead this organization, not once, but twice. I am so proud to be a Director and having had the opportunity to be your President.

With every new member, we continue to make more friends, have more fun, feel more fulfilled. The last couple of years left a hole in my heart in that I missed all the smiles and hugs, but they are back with a vengeance at the OC Fair this year and I could not be happier. I hope the Orange County Wine Society makes each of you as happy as it makes me and that our paths, and new ones, continue to cross often in the future, all while working for a common goal.

Until we next meet again. Cheers and L’Chaim.

– Fran Gitsham, President

Featured Winery Program at the OC Fair

Lloyd and I would like to invite you to visit us, along with Betty Jo and Jay Newell, at the Featured Winery Bar during the OC Fair. We will be presenting wines from a different winery each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You will get to meet the winemaker or a winery principal who will introduce you to their wines, answer your questions about their wines, their history with the winery, and any other inquiries you may have. We will be pouring tastes for you to enjoy.

Our participants are scheduled to present from 1 pm to 7 pm, as featured below.

All proceeds from the Featured Winery Bar go to the OCWS Scholarship Fund.

Please come make new friends, learn more about wines, and enjoy yourself.

– Liz & Lloyd Corbett,
Featured Winery Program Co-chairs

Date Winery
August 5 Gelson’s Private Label Wines, Jake Cheung
August 6 Orange Coast Winery
August 7 TBD
August 12 Vinos Unidos Winery, Chris Jaregui
August 13 Shale Oak Winery, Curtis Hascall
August 14 Bushong Vintage Co., Jason Bushong

Announcing the OCWS Photography Contest

The OCWS is starting a photography contest and you are invited to participate! As you might have guessed, the subject is “Wine,” but this can mean many things to many people. Do you have a great shot of the sun filtering through the vines just before picking? Or an action shot of wine being poured with some great swirls in the glass? Or a romantic shot of a couple toasting each other with some wine? These are just a couple ideas, and I am sure you have many more ideas of that great shot involving wine in some way.

Each month the Photography Committee will select a “Photo of the Month” for publication in an upcoming Wine Press. The ultimate goal is to publish an OCWS Calendar, consisting of the 12 best photos of the year. These may or may not be the 12 monthly winners.

The rules are simple:

  1. Entrants must be OCWS members in good standing and the submitted photo must have been photographed by the OCWS member when he/she was an active member.
  2. The photo must be somehow wine oriented. It may be of a winery, a vineyard, the winemaking process, the finished product or simply the consumption. But don’t limit yourself to these ideas!
  3. The photo may be submitted to the photography committee anytime but will be considered only for the month it was submitted. There is a limit of five (5) submissions per month.
  4. Upon submission, the photo becomes the property of the OCWS, so before you submit it make sure it is your property. Please get permission from any people in the photo to use for OCWS marketing purposes.
  5. The photo may be submitted in any either JPEG, RAW, TIFF, or Photoshop format. Any size is acceptable, but is preferred to be at least 3000×2400 pixels, which is an 8×10 shot at 300 dpi for printing.

To submit a picture attach it in an email to Jim@JBurk.net. Be sure to include your name, phone number, picture location and picture title.

If you have any questions contact Jim Burk at Jim@JBurk.net, OCWS photographer and head of the OCWS photography committee.

– Jim Burk, OCWS Photographer

OCWS Board of Directors Election

Oversite of the OCWS is seen by a nine-member Board of Directors, which finds three members’ terms ending each year. The organization, as you all know it, does not run itself. Needless to say, intelligent, innovative, open minded, problem solving, and results oriented people are the key to the leadership of the group. The majority of our members have these skills already, and it’s that time of year to consider stepping up to help lead the way. If you know the organization and have been a volunteer along the way, you just might be among the people to take a lead position.

The beginning of a three-year term on the Board of Directors, according to the By-Laws, shall be staggered such that three members’ terms expire each year. The three vacated positions are filled each year by a vote of the OCWS membership, following the Annual Business Meeting which, this year, will be held on Friday, September 9, 2022, and will be held virtually via Zoom.

The overall time commitment for a member of the Board varies, based upon assignments and participation. The ultimate goal of the Board is for members to run OCWS programming, with the Board acting as mentors and liaisons regarding budgets, event timing and placement, and for the Board to function as an oversight committee, focusing on compliance with the By-Laws, insurance, OC Fair compliance, liability exposure, etc., and generally running the business of the organization.

A candidate, ideally, should possess some of the following skills:

  • General knowledge of the OCWS events and activities
  • Prior experience as a volunteer
  • The ability and time to help organize events throughout the year
  • Selected event and budget management skills
  • Be a member in good standing

To declare candidacy for a position on the Board of Directors, a candidate must present a Declaration of Candidacy, in writing, by mail or via electronic media to the Election Chair no later than fourteen (14) calendar days (which is August 26, 2022) prior to the scheduled Annual Business Meeting.

Statements of Candidacy will be posted on the OCWS website and, during the Annual Business Meeting, declared candidates will have an opportunity to address the attending membership. A written Statement of Qualifications is required to be presented to the Election Committee no later than five (5) calendar days after receipt by the Election Chair of a Declaration of Candidacy.

The OCWS continues to thrive thanks in great part to the leadership of the organization over the last 47 years. If helping take the helm of this amazing group is of interest to you, please feel free to contact Sara Yeoman at Sara@ocws.org with any questions related to Director Responsibilities, the election process or anything else. Thank you.

– Sara Yeoman, 2022 Election Chair

The Courtyard Crew– Set Up and Tear Down

This is How It’s Done: It took three days for our talented veteran volunteers to set up The Courtyard for the 2022 OC Fair. With things around us quickly changing every day, new features and with our special touches, we passed all our inspections to make The Courtyard a safe place to meet, greet and appreciate.

It is from our Courtyard teams and your generous service that promote our organization in many ways throughout the year. And importantly, the donations generated fund our scholarship account. New members could experience interesting tidbits few of us get to see, and there will be more opportunities to get involved for the OC Fair in 2023. Sorry we cannot keep The Courtyard looking so nice all year long!

The Tear Down Team will assemble in The Courtyard the day after the Fair ends to take it all down in one day, Monday, August 15 at 9 am until 3 pm. Contact Leslie Hodowanec at Les@ocws.org to sign up. Lunch will be provided.

If you’re smiling when you walk into The Courtyard, thank the Set Up Team!  We are one facet of many that it takes to pull off the OC Fair. We hope you enjoy some photos below of our dedicated OCWS team in action and THANK YOU CREW!

– Leslie Hodowanec, The Courtyard Set Up
and Tear Down Coordinator