Wendy Taylor

President’s Wine Snips – Holiday Season

The Holiday Season is well under way, and our annual Holiday Dinner & Dance was once again enjoyed by our members to kick off the Season. Our members showed off their dance steps to the music of the “Three 2 Sevens” and generously donated gifts to the Costa Mesa Fire Department’s “Spark of Love” children’s gift drive. Many thanks to Brian and Sue McDonald for their outstanding efforts in arranging the event.

As a reminder, the Winemakers’ Group Holiday Party is just around the corner.

The Holiday Season is the perfect time to spend time with family and friends and enjoy wonderful food and, of course, wine!  Need a special wine to celebrate or for a gift? The OCWS website has a great tool to search for award-winning wines from the OCFEC Commercial Wine Competition hosted by the OCWS. Log into ocws.org or WineCompetition.com to find that perfect wine.

The Director Responsibility list has been assigned, and you can find this information on the OCWS website under About >Our Organization and in this month’s Newsletter. Please contact the appropriate Director should you have any questions.

The OCWS will once again have a busy schedule of events in 2019. I encourage you to fill in the upcoming events on your personal 2019 calendars so you don’t miss out on the events of interest to you. The Save the Date column in each Newsletter provides the dates of all upcoming events.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we wish you a happy Holiday Season and a healthy New Year.

Please remember to drink responsibly and consider using a designated driver or ride service. Cheers!

– Bill Redding, President

Courtyard Maintenance Crew Needed

With the very unfortunate and untimely passing of Paul Peal, our long-time Maintenance Co-coordinator, we have a critical need to put together a maintenance crew of 2 to 3 people. You should be skilled in construction, woodworking, plumbing, etc. The maintenance crew would be expected to participate in The Courtyard set-up (the Saturday before the Fair opens), […]

In Memoriam: Patty Wells

Patricia L. Wells, a long-time member of the Orange County Wine Society and a frequent supporter and scorekeeper of the Commercial Wine Competitions, passed away in Anaheim on November 4 at the age of 66.

Patty was a native of Los Angeles and grew up in the LA and Orange County areas.

Patty generously shared her knowledge of fine wine – and her collection – with family and friends. She loved most a fine red wine and favored several wines from the Temecula wine region, particularly those from Weins, Lorenzi, and Hart Wineries. Patty could be found nearly every Friday afternoon with her close friends at the Seal Beach Winery.

In addition to wine, Patty loved horses and was an active board member of the California Equine Retirement Foundation since 1986.

The Wine Society extends its heartfelt condolences to Patty’s family and friends.

President’s Wine Snips – 2018-2019 President, Bill Redding and BOD

Greetings to everyone on behalf of the OCWS Board of Directors. A special thanks  is extended to Jim Beard, Fran Gitsham, and Rich Skoczylas for their outstanding leadership and service over the past six years.

At the Annual Installation Dinner last month, our new Board members were introduced: Leslie Hodowanec, Mel Jay, and Sara Yeoman. This year’s Officers were also introduced: President—Bill Redding, Vice President—Ken Scott, Treasurer—Brian McDonald, and Secretary—George Cravens. The Board Members’ contact information is in every newsletter. Please feel free to introduce yourself to this year’s Board at upcoming OCWS events.

For those who don’t know me personally, my wife, Carolyn, and I have been members since 2001. Since that time, we have taken an incredible journey through the OCWS. We have learned a great deal about wine, winemaking, California’s wine industry, and have had the opportunity to meet many of California’s premier winemakers who graciously assist in judging at the Commercial Wine Competition each year. Just as importantly, we have come to know numerous people, many of whom we now count as friends. It is my sincere hope that our members participate in the many activities that are available as attendees, volunteers, or as members of the various committees that make events possible each year.

The success of the OCWS over time is due to the tremendous support of its members. Last year, members contributed 20,682 volunteer hours. As a non-profit educational foundation, we have contributed scholarship funding totaling over $633,000 to select California colleges and universities in support of students who will become the next generation working in California’s wine industry and the culinary arts.

Upcoming activities are posted on our website at ocws.org and in our newsletter. The Wine Press is mailed out at the beginning of each month.

Please join your fellow members at one of our upcoming events. Cheers!

– Bill Redding, President

2019 OCWS Winery Program: Save the Dates

The Orange County Wine Society starts its 2019 Winery Program in January. This annual series promotes the knowledge of winemaking, viticulture, and wine appreciation. It comprises several wine tastings to introduce our members to different wines made by award-winning wineries from some of the best wine producing regions in California.

We invite the winemakers to come and talk about their wines and to answer your questions. This is a great benefit that we provide our members. If you consider that if you visit a winery, how often do you have the ability to hear and talk personally with the winemakers themselves? Save the Friday dates and mark your calendars to attend.

Friday, January 11, 2019: Buttonwood Winery

Friday, February 22, 2019: Francis Ford Coppola*

Friday, March 15, 2019: Red Soles Winery

Friday, April 12, 2019: Trentadue Winery

Friday, May 10, 2019: Monte de Oro Winery

The evening of the tasting, you can order the wines at a discounted price. The wines will then be shipped directly to your home.

Our Winery Program is an opportunity to attend a tasting in our local area by a well-known and established winery or a newer winery just starting, but one that produces outstanding wines. We bring you award-winning wineries so you can taste their wines, learn if you enjoy a particular style, and order the wines served that evening.

New Members. If you joined after our May 2018 tasting, and when you attend your first Winery Program tasting in 2019, we will gift you with a bottle of wine.

Look for information about each tasting in The Wine Press or on the Wine Society website. We hold our Winery Program events at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa. Each tasting starts with a light dinner and self-parking is included in the price. With our large membership and limited attendance space, we encourage you to sign up early.

*Special February tasting tied to the Hollywood Oscar presentations in March.

– Rich Skoczylas, Winery Program Coordinator

In Memoriam: Paul Peal

The OCWS mourns the loss of OCWS member, Paul Peal, the recipient of the 2015 President’s Award. Paul’s extraordinary volunteerism, warm and gentle demeanor, and tireless efforts spoke volumes regarding his devotion to the success of the Wine Society.

Paul, a longtime member along with his wife, Janet Owen Peal, will be remembered for his huge heart and amazing ability to build and repair anything and everything imaginable. His handiwork can be seen in every physical aspect of the organization from the OCWS office to The Courtyard and well beyond.

The family requests that any donations in his memory be made by helping a veteran, supporting a student, or donating to the OCWS scholarship fund.

Paul will be sorely missed by all who had the great fortune to have crossed paths with him in life. Cheers, our friend!



Oktoberween 2018 Wrap Up

The OCWS Oktoberween themed Membership BBQ was held October 14 at The Courtyard under clear skies and comfortable temperatures.

It was a tremendous success with over 150 members attending and over $2,000 raised for the OCWS Scholarship Fund from the Wine Wall and silent auction.

This year’s event maintained our long-standing tradition of great food, good music, and the bringing together of our members for an afternoon of fun and comradery.

I would like to give special thanks to the following members who helped make it such a success:

  • Betty Jo and Jay Newell: Decorations and making all of the gift baskets
  • Irene and Ken Scott: Decorations and games development
  • Liz and Lloyd Corbett: Coordinating the Wine Wall, silent auction, and OCWS logo merchandising
  • Jim and Linda Downey: Making the homemade German Potato Salad and Sauerkraut
  • Robyn and Dean Strom: Donation of soft drinks
  • Sara Yeoman: Event MC (Mistress of Ceremonies)
  • Lynda Edwards and Rochelle Randel: Administration, event ticketing and tracking
  • Brian McDonald: Leader of the Grilling Team, invaluable help in menu planning and shopping
  • Jolen Zeroski: Volunteer Coordinator

And to all the volunteers who gave their time in support of the event and helped to “make it happen” – Thank You!!

– Terry McLean, Event Chair

President’s Wine Snips – 2018 President’s Award

Every year the President has the privilege of awarding the President’s Award to people or persons who are the personification of amazing volunteers. This year, the President’s Award was presented to a couple who singlehandedly raised almost $6,000 for our scholarship fund at The Courtyard during the 2018 OC Fair by creating and running the Featured Winery Program.

Having been Directors on the Board at one time or another, both of them know exactly what they are doing when they commit to something, and they do it amazingly well. Together they took over receiving and cataloging wine entries for the 2018 Commercial Wine Competition and, for those of you who don’t know the magnitude of that commitment, they were responsible for 2,708 entries and 16,248 bottles of wine!

Together they recreated our OCWS merchandise sales program and have selflessly given their time to have a merchandise table set up at nearly all events, including during the Winery Programs, the Commercial Wine Competition, and Annual Business Meeting. These are just a few ways they have contributed to the organization over the years. Words cannot do justice to the kindness and love they exude. No matter how much they are thanked, it will never be enough. So when your paths cross with theirs, please say thanks for their dedication and commitment to the OCWS and, if given the opportunity, pour them just a tad of great wine and raise a glass to them.

Congratulations, thanks and cheers to Liz and Lloyd Corbett.

– Fran Gitsham, Past President

President’s Wine Snips – Passing the Torch

This is the last President’s article I will be writing. In accordance with our Bylaws, I am termed out of the Board after six years (two three-year terms). To be blatantly honest, I am not devastated to know that I will have more time on my hands and I can just be one hell of a great volunteer going forward. I look forward to sharing more time and laughs with so many of you whose paths have crossed mine, and because of my commitment to help run the organization precluded me from, more often than not, spending time just being and having more fun.

I am so very proud to have had the opportunity to serve the organization on the Board and to have been your President, if just for one brief year. I was mentored early on by smart, talented, and loving people and have watched this organization grow by leaps and bounds in just these past six years. We have implemented new technology, ramped up the business aspect of The Courtyard and created new membership drives that have brought us the next generation of dedicated volunteers who will see that the OCWS continues to thrive for many more years to come. New fundraising avenues have been tapped into for our scholarship fund, marketing efforts have enhanced the Commercial Wine Competition in more ways than just entries, and we have gained, thanks to an amazing OC Fair staff, new respect from the OCFEC as one of their nonprofit partners, all while trying to take into consideration those who have come before and created the foundation that it is today.

With the above being said, I ask all of you to remember that I was just one of nine and to please show the same support, compassion and understanding I have felt from you to those who are coming next. You have six truly amazing Board members going forward next year and now, as all three of the outgoing Directors have termed out, we have the opportunity to elect three new Board members to help run the OCWS. I have joked that we have 1,000 members at any given time and that 991 are in it for the fun and camaraderie, but nine members who, as Directors, give an exorbitant amount of their personal time and business expertise to run the OCWS. This is so true! It’s not always easy to keep in mind that we are a business and must be run as such taking into consideration finances, legalities, liabilities, insurance, etc. Your Directors give not only their time and talents, but their hearts. We have four people running for the three open Director positions. I strongly urge each of you to take the time to read their Statements of Candidacy and use your best discretion to vote for three people you consider most qualified to run the business. Statements of Candidacy can be located on the ocws.org website.

I ask that you also remember that, although nine people essentially run the business, none of this would be possible without all of your support and efforts as volunteers doing the really hard work. I could not be prouder to have been a part of the business aspect, and now I look forward to being equally as proud to join the ranks as a dedicated volunteer.

Lastly, please remember, I will still do hugs! Thank you all for a great ride!

– Fran Gitsham, President