July 2023

Scholarship Winners: Where Are They Now?

Grit & Grace

Much like a wine can evolve over time, so has wine consultant Tymari LoRe’s appreciation for the industry and the imprint she is leaving on the Santa Ynez Valley.

LoRe grew up in Orange County – shout out to Cypress – and her first interaction with wine was working for her uncle at a winery. There she learned how wine serves as a conduit to uniting us.

“My favorite part of the industry is that it brings people together from all walks of life,” she said. “Wine is meant to be shared and enjoyed by people and fosters camaraderie.”

LoRe attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she double majored in enology and wine business. She received a scholarship from the Orange County Wine Society that allowed her to buy the necessary books to continue her studies.

Along the way, she landed three internships that provided her the tools for winemaking. LoRe traveled to Europe where she studied winemaking for seven to eight months before finding herself in Santa Barbara County.

She became associate winemaker at Kita Wines, which was run by Tara Gomez, the first Native American winemaker recognized by the California Legislature.

“It was really a cool combination of spirituality and the winemaking portion that flowed very well together,” LoRe said.

She also cut her teeth at Folded Hill Winery, owned by Kim and Andrew Busch – yes, those Buschs of Budweiser fame. LoRe was part of the winery’s management and spent about five years before she found her true calling of helping smaller wineries find their niche in the market.

“I had this love of seeing these brands launch and I felt there was a lack of that space in the industry,” LoRe said.

She started LoRe Consulting Group in 2021 and provides a host of services from designing and laying out an actual winery to creating business models that optimizes sales and forecasts income.

Tymari LoRe helps start-up wineries create their own business plan through her consulting firm based in Santa Barbara County

“What I’ve found by mistake is that wineries don’t have a plan. If you don’t know how to stand out, you will ultimately get lost in the fray,” LoRe said. “I want to make sure they don’t fall into a hole.”

She strives to get as much knowledge about what a winemaker wants and she believes each of her clients should have a unique story and niche. One of her main challenges is connecting the dots – or grapes – to help a winery push their brand forward and upward for maximum exposure.

LoRe has found a home in Santa Barbara County, which she says has the highest number of women in the wine industry across California. She says the region is finally getting the recognition it deserves and is not just a pit stop for those traveling to Paso Robles.

She hopes that her experience and knowledge will boost the profile and the margins of smaller wineries that will benefit not only her and the winemaker but the public as well.

“Being able to work with people who I felt didn’t get the right opportunity to showcase their strengths is very rewarding,” she said. “I want to see them grow and evolve and I’m there to help them get to that point.”

Greg Risling

Pairing Wine Education and Fun Since 1978

In my nearly 40 years in the wine industry, and 37 years with the Orange County Wine Society, I have seen many changes in the industry and with our organization. Some members say we are a social club that gets together to drink wine, while others point to our educational contribution to the wine industry with our competitions, educational wine events and scholarship donations. I say these are not mutually exclusive categories and the OCWS has been pairing wine education and fun since 1978. And we do it well!

When I first joined the organization in my early 20s, I looked up to the experienced members who ran amazing wine events throughout the year such as the monthly winery programs, the wine competitions and the OCWS “booths” at the OC Fair. The main location was at the end of our old trailer, and the second location was upstairs in the corner of the Flower and Garden building.

Making Connections

At the Commercial Competition, we had fewer varietal categories, significantly less wine to move and lots of strong young members to move it. It was at these events that I first met winemakers like Carol Shelton, Kent Rosenblum, Jerry Lohr, Gary Eberle, Dave Cofrane and Jim Prager, to name a few, and learned more about the exploding California wine industry. We have lost many of our beloved founding members and winemaker friends over the years but our organization remains strong with younger generations and winemakers joining us in our mission.

Wine Extraordinaire

Between the 1980s and early 2000s, OCWS was the star of the wine universe in the OC, hosting mega-tastings called the Wine Extraordinaire (boutique wineries) and the Wine Classic (winners from the competition). Hundreds of people would flock to the Anaheim Hilton to taste varietals from more than 100 wineries and 20 to 30 local restaurants. We had to rent one of the largest ballrooms in the county just to accommodate the size of the event.

These were amazing tastings with more wines than one could taste in a day… although many people gave it their best shot! Alas, the word got out that wine tasting was a great way to raise money and many organizations started using the wine-tasting format to support their efforts. I have yet to see a wine tasting in the OC since that has had that number of wineries but with so many great causes competing with us in the wine-tasting arena, we no longer hold these events. The last Wine Extraordinaire was in 2015.

Tasting on the Road

In addition to hosting local events, OCWS members have traveled the state by car or bus and the globe by cruise ship with organized trips and tastings over the years. Sometimes we’ve had 50 to 100 people going to wineries at the same time or over the same weekend.

I can recall one trip to Sonoma during barrel tasting weekend where one of our members discovered a new winery that had just opened its doors that weekend. The breakfast room was abuzz the next morning as members shared their notes from great finds the day before. By the end of the weekend, most of us had visited that new winery and joined their wine club.

One of the things I love about this organization is its support for the smaller wineries as well as the large wineries.

OCWS Successes

OCWS has so much to be proud of as an organization, from celebrating our 47th year hosting the OC Fair wine competitions to donating over $780,000 in scholarships to eight California colleges and universities. Most recently, we instituted the Limited Production Winery Program for our competition to help smaller wineries enter the competition and be recognized.

Our efforts reach the public during the OC Fair through our educational and fun programming with tastings of award-winning wines to featured winery programs where the public get to meet the winemakers in person to the popular wine seminars that take a deeper dive into a particular type of wine or wine and food pairings.

Since its inception, OCWS has grown significantly. As long as I can remember, we have been hovering around 1,000 members, but the organization started with just a small group of home winemakers in the early 1970s. While many nonprofit organizations suffered greatly during the pandemic, OCWS tightened its financial belt, paused membership dues and temporarily moved their educational content online. We weathered the storm and now have over 1,000 members going into this year’s OC Fair, our biggest recruitment time, so we are on track to grow to our largest membership by August.

Getting Involved

As an all-volunteer member organization, we rely on our members to put on amazing events and spread the word about our organization. I highly recommend becoming an OCWS ambassador by letting wineries know you are a society member when you visit them, taking photos of our ribbons and medals at the wineries and posting them on social media, supporting them by purchasing wine and promoting all that our organization does.

There are so many ways to get involved from volunteering at events or for work parties, volunteering for a committee or just attending one of our many events! It is through our amazing membership that we have been able to thrive over the past 45 years. It is through our members that we have been successful in pairing wine education and fun since 1978!

Carolyn Christian, OCWS Vice President and Historian

Chef of the Evening

Dino Amico credits his mom for this version of Venetian Mac and Cheese served at a recent Mini-Tasting.

“My passion is to cook for crowds and that is usually weekends; I like to heighten our experience with wine and food and put a satisfying feeling in our bellies,” Dino says. “In the end, I just want all guests to be happy and joyful.”

Dino likes to mix up the cheeses to provide different flavors to the traditional all-Italian, so he’ll venture into German or American cheese flavors.

Venetian Mac and Cheese


12 oz. wide egg noodles

2 1/2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup (packed) grated fontina cheese

3/4 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup (grated) mozzarella cheese

4 oz. cooked boiled ham, diced (optional)

2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


PREHEAT oven to 450 degrees. Butter 9”x13”x2” glass baking dish.

COOK noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well (do not rinse).

WHISK milk, cream, flour, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend.

STIR the in 1 cup of the fontina, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, the ham and parsley.

ADD the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer noodle mixture to prepared baking dish.

COMBINE remaining 1 cup of fontina, ¼ cup of Parmesan and ¼ cup of mozzarella in small bowl; toss to blend.

SPRINKLE cheese mixture over noodle mixture.

BAKE until sauce bubbles and cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Congratulations to all of the winners and a big thank you to the hosts. Please send your recipes to George Cravens at george@ocws.org for possible publication on the OCWS website.

15 Wineries Showcase Their Wines at Fair

More than a dozen wineries will spend a few hours every weekend at the upcoming fair to showcase their handiwork.

From Sacramento to right here in our backyard in Orange County and everywhere in between, The Courtyard’s Featured Winery program gives fairgoers and OCWS members the opportunity to taste some of the best wines California has to offer on top of all the other choices available.

For the past six years, nearly 100 wineries across California have been invited to the fair and pour their wine. OCWS members Lloyd and Liz Corbett have spearheaded the effort in hopes of getting wineries – especially some of the smaller ones – more exposure.

The program runs from 3 to 7 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the fair and kicks off Friday, July 14 with Orange County’s own Vinos Unidos.

Another Courtyard Setup in the Books

Cheers to our crew and the entire Courtyard Committee!

The first morning of the OC Fair we passed our inspections for the 2023 Courtyard. Taking three and a half days to set up, our amazing crew hope you enjoy our new signs, decorations and ideas.

We are already making plans for the 2024 Courtyard at the OC Fair and sincerely appreciate your ideas.

Now, we will be tearing it all down and everything will be stored away until next year.  Last year, we completed teardown in less than one day and we can use your help this year.  The teardown crew will meet 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, in The Courtyard. If you are available, please sign up with me so I can plan for our lunch. Fell free to shoot me an email at Les@ocws.org.

Further details will be provided soon.

—Leslie Hodowanec, Courtyard Teardown Coordinator