Wendy Taylor

President’s Wine Snips – Gearing Up For Fair Fun

With the Commercial and Home Wine Competitions now just fading memories, the 2018 OC Fair is fast approaching, and the OCWS is geared up to run our most important fundraising effort of the year—The Courtyard at the OC Fair. This year’s Fair theme is “Free Your Inner Farmer,” and the Fair runs Wednesdays through Sundays, […]
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Commercial Wine Competition Judges Go Over & Above

The support of the Judges at the 2018 Commercial Wine Competition knows no bounds. In addition to the Judges, with the exception of a small stipend, paying their own way to attend and judge, each year a handful donate back their stipends to create a Judge’s Scholarship, which is then granted in their honor by […]
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OCWS Board of Directors: Call for Candidates

Have you thought about getting more involved with the OCWS outside of volunteering for or attending various OCWS-related events? If you are innovative, open-minded, possess good interpersonal skills, are results oriented and a problem solver, then a position as a Director of the OCWS just might be right for you. As I have stated previously, we […]
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Graber Olive House, a Longtime, Valued Supporter of the OCWS

The Wine Society would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Graber Olive House for their friendship, generosity and continued support over the years.

Graber Olive House has provided their specialty olives to the Commercial Wine Competition for many years. As you know, palate assault can be extreme even though wine judges may expectorate every sip. The acidity in white wines and tannins in red wines can be a painful experience after a full day of tasting. A small cup of Graber olives placed alongside each judge neutralizes the elements in both reds and whites, work wonders for the palate and taste fantastic, too.

Graber olives are hand-picked when they’ve ripened to a cherry-red color, then “cured in covered vats without being oxidized,” according to Graber Olive House. After the curing and canning processes, the olives are of varying shades of nutlike color.

Graber Olive House is located in quiet, serene surroundings. Visitors will be delighted to discover a bit of early California when they visit. Along with olives, Graber Olive House offers many other products, such as crisp California almonds and pistachios, California dessert fruits, olive oils and elegant gift baskets. When in or driving through Ontario, visit Graber Olive House and pick up a few cans of olives and other items. You can also visit their website at GraberOlives.com to have products shipped directly to you.

Graber Olive House is located at 215 E. Fourth Street,
Ontario, CA 91764.

President’s Wine Snips – Behind the Scenes

Last month I wrote that we are in a very important partnership with the Orange County Fair & Events Center (OCFEC) which affords the OCWS the opportunity to run their wine competitions each year. What I didn’t touch on was the behind the scenes workings that make a competition a reality. Unless you’ve volunteered for […]
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The Courtyard Setup & Teardown

Setup for The Courtyard is scheduled for Saturday, July 7. We need to move all of The Courtyard material from the storage trailer, clean the refrigerator, clean the counters and shelving, hang posters and signs, etc. The setup will start at 9:00 am and will end by 2:00 pm so everyone going to the Gold […]
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In Memoriam: Carolyn Wolsfelt

Carolyn Wolsfelt, a beloved OCWS member, sadly passed away on May 4, 2018 surrounded by her husband, Richard, daughter, Cheryl, and son, Rich. The Wolsfelts joined the OCWS in 2000 and Carolyn quickly became known and loved by many for her ever-present smile and gregarious laughter. Over the years, Carolyn brought smiles by volunteering to […]
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President’s Wine Snips – “The Side Our Bread Is Buttered On (or more appropriately…The Vines Our Grapes Thrive On)”

The Orange County Wine Society is known for running The Courtyard at the OC Fair each year and reaping the benefits, but most people don’t know how this came to be. Proceeds from The Courtyard, along with the Wine Auction each year, pay for running the Competitions and sustaining the organization; however, this does not come from the OCWS alone. The OCWS is in a very important partnership with the Orange County Fair and Events Center (OCFEC) which affords us the opportunity to continue running the Competitions and realizing the benefits.

The Commercial and Home Wine Competitions that we run each year are, in fact, owned by the OCFEC, not the OCWS. However, it was that small group of home winemakers that I wrote about just a few months ago in The Wine Press that not only began the organization 42 years ago, but also approached the OC Fair with the thought of running wine competitions at the OC Fair. Hence, with a single table and a handful of wines, the OC Fair wine competitions were born.

From that handful of passionate people and one small table, the OCWS now runs one of the most prestigious commercial wine competitions in the country. The OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition, which is held offsite over an entire weekend, finds entries of upwards of 2,500+ California commercial wines each year that are judged by a distinguished panel of nearly 90 judges comprised of mostly renowned California winemakers and winery principals. The Competition, which is traditionally held on the first weekend of June each year, finds over 300 OCWS volunteers working hard to make each competition more successful than the one before. The Winemakers’ Group of the OCWS, which is comprised of about 80 die-hard home winemakers, many of whom are award-winning winemakers in their own right, and a couple of hundred more supporters, run the OC Fair Home Wine Competition on the second weekend of June each year. This Home Wine Competition, which is held on the Fairgrounds, finds approximately 220 volunteers to make this event a success. Over 100 of these individuals are trained home wine judges who judge approximately 650 entered wines that are served by about 80 stewards. Behind the scenes finds scorers and glass washers, among many other supporting roles, as well as both breakfast and lunch created and served by the OCWS Cooks’ Caucus.

All of this culminates in The Courtyard during the OC Fair, where the OCWS has the pleasure of serving tastes of that year’s award winning commercial wines throughout the 23 days of the Fair, pouring glasses of other commercial wines and hosting a number of wine seminars in an effort to continue our organization’s mission of wine education. All of this is accomplished at the hands of hundreds of dedicated volunteers without whom this organization would not be what it is today. Truly amazing in my opinion!  I am so proud to be your President this year and have the opportunity to share stories of incredible people and events with all of you.

For more information about the Competitions and The Courtyard, please visit.

– Fran Gitsham, President

The Courtyard Setup & Teardown

Setup for The Courtyard is scheduled for Saturday, July 7. We need to move all of The Courtyard material from the storage trailer, clean the refrigerator, clean the counters and shelving, hang posters and signs, etc. The setup will start at 9:00 am and will end by 2:00 pm so everyone going to the Gold […]
This content is only available to members.