October 2022

President’s Message

Thankful for Paths Otherwise Gone

With the holidays fast approaching beginning with Thanksgiving this month, among my thoughts is just how grateful I am to be a part of the Orange County Wine Society. I am so blessed to cross paths with so many people that otherwise I would never have met. I have had the honor of knowing some of the founding members of the OCWS and to have been touched by their hearts and to know just how precious a gift their passions and foresight have given us to this day.

The ultimate gift of this organization was conceived by a small group of people who, for their love of wine, created the Wine Society. Beginning in 1976, a group of about sixteen like-minded people would meet the first Friday of each month in the back room of Brant’s Wine Rack, a wine and beer supply store on Tustin Avenue in Orange, where the owner advised the group on winemaking. Soon friends wanted to sample the wines and the wine drinkers began to outnumber the winemakers. It was then that Brant Horton suggested getting a booth at the OC Fair and offered his business as a sponsor. Horton proposed wine competitions to the OC Fair and, from there, the OC Fair Home Wine and Commercial Wine Competitions were born. At that time, the run of the fair was a grand total one week, finding the Home Wine Competition with forty-nine entries and the Commercial Wine Competition having a whopping three varietals to be judged. Certainly, a far cry from over 600 entries to the 2022 Home Wine Competition and over 2,500 entries in the 2022 Commercial Wine Competition.

With interest being generated from the OC Fair exposure, the original tasting group formed the Orange County Wine Society in late 1977 and was incorporated as a non-profit educational organization in 1978. We have called the OC Fairgrounds home since 1980.

Who could have imagined that what was started by a small band of wine lovers would evolve into a 1,000-member strong group today, having granted over $740,000 to date in college scholarships? I thank those that came first for gifting us with their visions and commitments to their passions.

Wishing you a Thanksgiving with many blessings for which to be grateful and for the gift of passions that make your hearts happy.


– Fran Gitsham, President

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The Board of Directors regretfully announces that our Wine Press Editor-in-Chief, Linda Mihalik, is stepping down. Linda has served as our Editor for over five years. Linda especially enjoyed inserting […]
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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