September 2022

President’s Message

With a New Year Comes New Challenges . . .

Any number of articles have been written over the years about the OCWS and the fact that we, amazingly, run on volunteerism. With the exception of office staff, accounting and website administration, every integral position within the organization is managed by volunteers. With a new Board year beginning, also comes new responsibilities for the ensuing year, and there are lots of them. Every year I have been on the Board, which is seven to date, your Board of Directors has discussed and discussed and discussed again how to go about encouraging more volunteers to take integral roles in the organization. The Board runs the business but, sadly, it still seems to fall upon their shoulders to chair major events as well.

It is not necessary to be a Director on the Board in order to help spearhead programs and, unless the next generation of volunteers start undertaking and supporting some of the programming, we just may find ourselves in a position of having to consider letting some things go by the wayside, and that would just be a shame.

Although volunteering is not a requirement of membership, I urge all members who can make the time, even for just one hour at an event you consider attending, to try volunteering. Within our organization, it is as much a social experience as any event you may attend. It is not only the people who undertake major roles, but it is the many volunteers who have but a few days or just a few hours a year that we would not be able to exist without.

I urge, and beseech, all members to take a look at the current List of Responsibilities on the OCWS website under “About – Our Organization.”  It’s mind boggling just how much goes into running the business of the organization, two wine competitions, wine auctions, The Courtyard at the OC Fair, all the while maintaining our level of educational and social programming throughout the year which, again, is done solely by volunteers.

If you see anything of interest to you, please reach out to me or any of the Chairs listed to inquire about helping just a bit.

In closing, I again, as in the past, quote John F. Kennedy when he said: “Every person can make a difference, and every person should try.”  Thank you.

– Fran Gitsham, President

August 2022 Gold Medal Mini-Tasting Recap

The August Gold Medal Mini-Tasting featured five different varietals, two wines each. All ten wines were Double Gold winners in the 2022 Commercial Wine Competition. There were ten  host sites and 155 members and guests spread throughout the county.

The first flight was a Viognier and a Viognier/Grenache Blanc/Roussanne blend. The second was a pair of Barbaras, followed by a pair of Syrahs, two Zinfandels, and a pair of Cabernet Sauvignons. One of the Zinfandels (Macchia’s Mischevious) was awarded Best in Class.

This group tends to favor red wines, and each of the eight red wines were selected as a top three wine at one or more of the sites.

The four favorite wines across the ten host sites:

Place Wine & Winery Year Price DESCRIPTION
1st Macchia Mischevious

Old Vine Zinfandel,


Best of Class

95 pt. Double Gold

Top 3 at 8 of 10 sites

2020 $23 This Mischievous blend uses multiple Old Vine Zinfandel vineyards that when combined, produce the classic, fruit-forward characteristics that are the centerpiece of all great Lodi wines. Just a touch of Petite Sirah adds structure, as well as, increasing its complexity. Aging in small oak barrels creates a soft vanilla finish making it a very food-friendly wine that can be enjoyed daily with everything from rich pasta to a juicy barbecued steak.
2nd Macchia Infamous


Amador County AVA


95 pt. Double Gold

Top 3 at 6 of 10 sites

2020 $28 Barbera arrived in California along with the early Italian immigrants. It is celebrated around the world as an extremely food-friendly wine with refined tannins and lively acidity. At Macchia, 100% of our Barbera is aged in oak barrels for increased complexity which serves to highlight the vibrant red fruit and what makes Amador Barbera grapes famous. The Infamous head-trained Cooper Vineyard yields grapes with intense fruit, deep color, and soft tannin levels.
3rd Volatus G-LOC


Willow Creek AVA

Paso Robles

93 pt. Double Gold

Top 3 at 5 of 10 sites

2020 $42 100% Zinfandel from the Willow Creek District. This is the biggest, baddest, most balanced Paso Zin you can find. Back Label: The pain cave of High G, WVR combat is a cruel mistress, but you have to learn to love her.

Alcohol 16.60%

4th J. Lohr Hilltop

Cabernet Sauvignon

Paso Robles

94 pt. Double Gold

Top 3 at 4 of 10 sites

2020 $29.99 The 2020 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon displays trademark aromas of blackberry, black currant, and toasted pastry crust. Dense and soft on the palate. Elegant layers of black and red currants leave a bright finish, accented by spice and pastry notes from extended oak aging.

Blend: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc

In addition, 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 Rob and Germaine Romano: Bill Forsch – Beef Brisket

Host Bob Topham and Beverly Genis: Mark Godleski – Salmon

Hosts Don and Elee Phillips: Carolyn & Damian Christian – Smoked Pork

Hosts Craig and Ronna Rowe:  Marybeth Ackerman – Mushroom Dip

Hosts Betty Jo and Jay Newell: Rod White – Asparagus Soup

Hosts Pam and Bill Oneida: Linda Crawford – Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce

Hosts Marcia and James Vaughan: Cathy Painter – Nanaimo (Coconut Bars)

Hosts Fred and Cheryl Heinecke: Cheryl Heinecke – Bananas Foster

Hosts Dave and Barb White: Donna Hisey – Pulled Pork Sliders

Hosts John Molina and Courtney: Ed and Kim Meier – Baked Ziti

Congratulations to all the winners!  A big Thank You to the Hosts! Please send your recipes to George Cravens at for possible publication on the website.

– George Cravens, Mini-Tasting Event Chair

Volunteers that Made a Difference

The OCWS relies on our volunteers for everything from guiding and managing our organization, to planning and running our events. Most volunteer work is done “behind the scenes” and unnoticed by many.

In recognition of their hours of service, the Wine Society rewards its volunteers with gift certificates redeemable for admission to OCWS events. Thank you to the following volunteers for their efforts during the 2021-2022 Board year.

Our volunteers make this the successful organization that it is. We encourage you to get involved. It is a great way to see how the OCWS works and meet new friends.

THANK YOU!  We couldn’t exist without our volunteers!

Some statistics: 343 members volunteered this year, and put in a total of over 19,200 hours. Note: The volunteer coupons will be good for future events through October 1, 2023.

Coupons cannot be used on merchandise or membership renewals. The coupons should show up in your account by the end of September.

– George Cravens, Volunteer Coordinator

$50 Discount Coupon

Dawn Bergen-Iglesias

Leslie Brown

Chris & Hank Bruce

Pam Carter

Judy Chapel

Ms. Courtney

Damian Christian

Kim & Sam Clark

Liz & Lloyd Corbett

Kevin Coy

Lynda Edwards

Wendy Eld

Sue England

George Euan

Linda Flemins

Ellen Flynn

Bill Forsch

Carol Frank & Sam Puzzo

Jane Goodnight

Larry Graham

Greg Hagadorn

Scott Harral

Cheryl Heinecke

Leslie Hodowanec

Helga Hrowal

Michael Iglesias

Michael Johnson

Virginia & Karl Kawai

Cheryl & Ken Knapp

Theresa & John Lane

Kevin Lite

Betty Jo & Jay Newell

Marcy Ott

Cathy & Lee Painter

Alice Polser

Bruce Powers

Rochelle Randel

Carolyn & Bill Redding

Walter Reiss

Ed Reyes

Janet Riordan

Greg Risling

Rob Romano

Craig Rowe

Karen Russell

Scott Sayre

Peter Schlundt-Bodien

Jack & Linda Shepard

Dave & Tami Stancil

Robyn & Dean Strom

Wendy & Stacey Taylor

Tom Tippett

Bob Topham

Richard Ward

Barb & Dave White

Sara Yeoman

$25 Discount Coupon

Martin Ageson

April Allison

Dino Amico

Greg Basile

Laura Brown

Eva Cheung

Adrienne & Ray Davis

Dan Donati

Stephen Edwards

Sharon & Yale Finkle

Kathy & Claude Fusaro

Beverly Genis

Mark Godleski

Kay Gooding

Kelly Haggard

Lorraine Hammonds

Donna Hisey

Will Holsinger

Lynelle Hustrulid

Shelly Jayne

Cathy & Mike MacKenzie

Sue McDonald

John Molina

Mary Mulcahey

Kathryn Nalty

George Ott

Mike Paz

Craig Peterson

Don & Elee Phillips

Laurie Preus

Debbie Renne

Deborah Reynolds

Stephanie Richards

Ronna Rowe

Denise Scott

Shelly Trainor

Gerard & Nancy Unterreiner

Jean Vetri-Wilson

Daniel Vlahovic

Dave Wieczorek

Tony Wiegand

Jolen Zeroski

$10 Discount Coupon

Shilo & Ray Bartlett

Christine Brady

James Burk

Anna & Thomas Christie

Shelley & Louis Cohen

Art Cordts

Maria Coy

Dennis & Gloria DeRosia

Nancy Edwards

Charles & Kate English

Tina & B.J. Fornadley

Ellen & Jack Gaar

Allison Godleski

John Goodnight

Scott Green

Kim & Gerry Guerin

Robert Hall

Patty Hansen

Laurie & James Johnson

CL Keedy

Michael Koval

Kathy Krieger

Shannon Logsdon

Mary Ellen & Carl Manning

Monica McCarthy

Robin McCormick

John Nation

Pam Oneida

Alison Painter

Maia Pehrson

Dorthy Pemberton

Eric Perez

Lisa & Tom Peterson

Ken Polser

Jane Ptucha

Roger Reiss

Tom Richey

Jean Rico

Cathy Risling

Kim & Steven Rizzuto

Manny Robledo

Wilton Roddy

Terry Rose

David Rutledge

Irene & Ken Scott

Irene & Raul Serna

Lori Shapiro

Yolanda Shelton

Scott Shuster

Elizabeth & Craig Stark

Jody & Mike Theissen

Evelyn & Darwin Thompson

Nicole Tormey

Deborah & Michael Webber

Spencer Wilson

Amie Zeroski

OCWS Scholarship Tips

Although funds for the Scholarship Account come from several sources all year long, the funds I know you want to hear about are what “you” our members generated at The Courtyard this year! It was due to all our members who volunteered at the Fair that took the time to explain to the public about our colleges and universities while pouring with a smile that made this a very special year.

The OCWS was fortunate this year because we hung extra signage as reminders to all who entered The Courtyard, and we were able to place “tip” jars visible on the counters for the first very time.

Another huge reason was because of Liz and Lloyd Corbett and Betty Jo and Jay Newell who staffed and served at the new Featured Winery bar over countless hours, and managed all the participating wineries with those funds going toward the Scholarship Account. To them and to each of the wineries that supported this program, THANK YOU for your wine appreciation and education, and your excellent contributions!

Over $19,000 was donated from our “tip” jars on the counters alone, and over $15,000 was generated from the Featured Winery  Program.The total scholarship funds generated from The Courtyard at the 2022 OC Fair exceeded $34,500.

Thank you to The Courtyard Committee, to the Board of Directors and to Charles English for the extra help. The 2023 scholarship distribution proposal will be submitted to the Board for approval early next year.

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO DONATE!!  Go to our Scholarship page and you can choose any amount to donate to your choice of college or university, and you can print a receipt for your records. 35,000 thanks!

 – Leslie Hodowanec, 2022 Scholarship Committee Chair