February 2023

OCWS Wine Auction Great Wines For a Better Cause

Many of us look forward to the OCWS Wine Auction each year. It is a time to see friends, share some great wine and food and fill our personal cellars with California wines at unbeatable prices.

While you might think the wine auction is held just to empty out the OCWS cellar in preparation for this year’s wine competition, it is our second most important fundraiser of the year, just behind the Wine Courtyard during the OC Fair. As a reminder, the OCWS is a non-profit 501c(3) organization with a mission to support wine education. We do this through our programming at the OC Fair (wine tasting, seminars, featured wineries); winery programs during the spring; and WineCompetition.com, which features all of the winners from the OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

But by far our biggest support of wine education is the OCWS Scholarship Fund, which this year surpassed the $750,000 mark in donations to eight California colleges and universities with wine and culinary arts-related programs.

For those who have never attended the event, here is what to expect:

  • Over 1,000 silent auction lots placed in order on tables that span the event venue.
  • Over 100 verbal auction lots auctioned off randomly by our professional auctioneer.
  • Lots consist of four bottles of quality California wine curated by our own cellarmaster and his team who have spent weeks putting together the lots.
  • Printed and electronic catalogue of the auction lots available for attendees a few weeks before the event.
  • Mystery lots of wine available at crazy low prices and can be ordered at the beginning of the event, guaranteeing you will go home with something.
  • Food and wine served throughout the event in several courses (appetizers, entrees and desserts).
  • Doors open at 11 a.m. and bidding starts immediately.
  • Silent auction lots picked up randomly throughout the event until 4:30 p.m.
  • Checkout process begins shortly after 5 p.m. and concludes when all wines have been paid for and picked up. No early checkout is available under any circumstances. Please plan to stay until 6 p.m.

So whether you are looking to fill your wine cellar with some great deals on California wines, enjoying time with friends or great wine and food, or you want to support the wine industry by contributing to the OCWS Scholarship Fund, the OCWS Wine Auction has you covered.

OCWS members attend the annual wine auction featuring more than 4,400 wines in search of good deals and fun times.

The OCWS has been pairing wine education and fun for decades and this event is no exception. At only $20 per person for wine, food and a chance to get some great deals on wine, the wine auction is a bargain.

You can get even more involved by contributing your time as a volunteer during part of the event.

Please join us on Saturday, April 22, at the OC Fair and Event Center for our annual auction (a members-only event). Thank you in advance for your support of the OCWS and our mission to promote wine education.

Carolyn Christian – Event Chair

Presidents Message

The cog in the wheel is one who holds a minor but most necessary post in a large organization. The cogs who run the Orange County Wine Society are our volunteers.

As a volunteer, I have had the privilege to meet and spend time and work side by side with amazingly wonderful people who, like me, love the OCWS not just for what it can give us, but what we can do to give back and help in the successes of an incredible volunteer organization.

For me, it took just raising a hand to volunteer at the courtyard at the OC Fair 23 years ago and I was hooked. I had so much fun and met so many kind, intelligent, heartwarming and fun-loving people that, most likely, I wouldn’t have crossed paths with in this life. Volunteering hasn’t always been fun, since I have the tendency, like many of us, to raise my hand just a bit too often. But it most certainly has always been fulfilling.

This brings me to the point that the OCWS runs on volunteerism and the old adage that “many hands make for light work.” There are a number of people who have the time to volunteer on a regular basis, but it is also the people who have but a few days or even just hours a year that we would not exist without.

With each new year, OCWS starts planning for the annual major events that make this organization what it is – the Commercial and Home Wine competitions, wine auctions, the Courtyard at the OC Fair and, lest we forget, the numerous other membership events throughout the year. All of these are successful because of volunteers.

One thing you can be assured of is that you will be asked repeatedly to volunteer. Volunteering 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 will not 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 filled.

I urge all of you who can make the time, even for just one hour at an event, to give volunteering a try. It is truly addictive; just ask anyone who has tried it. It is as much a social experience as any event you attend.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Every person can make a difference and every person should try.” I say every member should volunteer at least once and I hope you have as much fun as I do.

Fran Gitsham, President



New Member Mixer

Meet other new members and the OCWS Board of Directors as well as learn more about what the Orange County Wine Society has to offer at the New Member Mixer […]
This post is only available to members.

Notable Recipes March 2023

Oven Braised Veal Stew
with Black Pepper &

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
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, Barbara,
Pinot Noir) optional
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
½ package of flat butter noodles


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 two 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 tsp. salt. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately over noodles.

Optional Thickening

Deglaze the stew. Pour veal and cherry stew into a bowl through a sieve. Place veal and 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 and reheat over medium heat 10 minutes.

Make Ahead

Stew can be made up to three days ahead; let cool then cover and refrigerate. Reheat gently over medium.

Oven Braised Veal Stew with Black Pepper & Cherries recipe courtesy Barb White. Got something delicious to share? Please send your recipes to George Cravens at george@ocws.org for possible publication on the OCWS