Wendy Taylor

President’s Message

The OC Fair opened on Friday, July 12 and continues through Sunday, August 11. If you have not had an opportunity to get in on the “Acres of Fun” theme at the OC Fair, it is not too late. I encourage you to stop by The Courtyard and have a great time tasting the award-winning […]
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OCWS Board of Directors: Call for Candidates

It’s the most wonderful time of the Year!  Well not that time but time to think about running for the OCWS Board of Directors.

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.

The beginning of a three-year term of the nine members of the Board of Directors, according to the Bylaws, shall be staggered such that three members’ terms will expire each year. The three vacated Board positions will be filled each year by a vote of the OCWS membership, following the Annual Business Meeting in September.

The overall time commitment for a member of the Board varies, based on assignments and participation. We are moving from having the Board manage some events to having our members run the event with a Board coordinator being the liaison to the Board regarding budgets, event timing and placement.

A candidate should possess some of the following skills and experience as well:

  • General knowledge of OCWS events and activities
  • Experience as a volunteer in some events
  • The ability and time to organize events during the year
  • Selected event and budget management skills
  • Be a member in good standing

To declare your candidacy for a position on the Board, the candidate must present their Declaration of Candidacy in writing, by mail or via electronic media to the Election Chair no later than fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the scheduled Annual Business Meeting. The last date to declare candidacy for this year’s election is Friday, August 23, 2019.

During the Annual Business Meeting, you will have the opportunity to speak to the membership and present your qualifications. A written Statement of Qualifications must be presented to the Election Committee no later than five (5) calendar days after your Declaration of Candidacy.

If being an OCWS leader interests you, feel free to contact Greg Hagadorn with any questions related to Director Responsibilities, the election process or anything related to the election. I can be reached at 714.388.8803 or at Greg@ocws.org.

– Greg Hagadorn, 2019 Election Chair

Gold Medal Mini-Tasting Recap

Over 180 members and guests attended the July 6 Gold Medal Mini-Tasting at 10 host sites. This may have been the best attended mini-tasting we have held. The line-up of wines included two from our Wine Society members – Big Nose Sauvignon Blanc (Double Gold) and Dewitt Syrah – Gold medal winner. The blind tasting […]
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President’s Message

This year’s highly successful Commercial Wine Competition, co-sponsored by the OCWS and the OCFEC, was held June 1 and June 2 at the Costa Mesa Hilton Hotel. The event took place under the direction of Competition Chair, Leslie Brown and Head of Judges Kevin Coy, along with Jane Goodnight and the Wine Competition Committee. The event featured 2,919 entries with 142 varietals entered. Eighty-nine Judges from throughout California, in panels of 5 judges, scored the wines entered.

To accomplish this precision undertaking required over 250 volunteers who contributed approximately 5,800 hours mailing brochures, making calls to wineries, receiving and cataloging wines under the direction of Liz and Lloyd Corbett, bagging, moving, washing and drying glasses, stewarding, wine verification and scoring, and data entry of the results. After the Competition, the award-winning wines were photographed and the winners made available online at Winecompetition.com. This Commercial Wine Competition website allows anyone to search for wines by award, price, sugar, varietal or winery. Kudos to Stacey Taylor for developing this comprehensive informational Wine Competition site.

A few interesting highlights from this year’s Commercial Wine Competition:

  • Entries—43% of our entries were from wineries new to the Competition. A record 256 cases of wine were delivered on a single day!
  • New Varietals—Falanghina, Macabeo and Norton.
  • Label Competition Awards—Best of Show—1849 Wine Company. Look for the label display at The Courtyard during the OC Fair.

The Home Wine Competition was held last month on Saturday, June 15 and was supported by almost 200 persons who volunteered as judges, stewards, administrators,

Results are In: Commercial Wine Label Competition

The 2019 Commercial Wine Label Competition has completed its review of many new wine labels. The Winner of the Best of Show is a label from the 1849 Wine Company called “Triumph,” a 2015 Red Wine Blend wine. All of the 1849 Wine Company wines feature artist created labels that got the attention of the Label Committee. To see other designs of their labels, please visit their website at 1849wine.com and read about the artist who created them named “Saber.”

The Commercial Label Competition has been an integral part of the OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition for over 15 years. A committee led by long-time members, Karl Tani and Carol Miura, reviewed labels submitted by wineries with their entries or, new this year, labels entered on competition websites used by the OCWS. Out of the many hundreds of labels available for review, the Label Committee narrowed the selection to a group of 12 to 15 finalists in 12 Categories from Architecture to Whimsical, which included a full bottle display for labels that may be screen-printed or otherwise will not show well if separated from the bottle. The Committee then selects up to 10 wines for display at the Commercial Wine Competition. Judges, volunteers, and other guests vote on a favorite in each category. Based on the most votes received, Gold, Silver and Bronze winners are chosen. From the group of Gold Medal winners, the Best of Show is then voted on by the Label Committee.

New procedures were started this year, and it was very gratifying on how wineries reacted when we phoned them to advise they were finalists. We try to use original wine labels if at all possible. But if unable to obtain them, we use the digital image from competition websites. Phone calls are placed to any finalist winery for whom we only have digital copies to try and secure originals.

The Label Committee thanks all the Commercial Wine Competition Judges and OCWS volunteers for their votes and enthusiasm, as well as the many wonderful comments about this year’s labels.

– Sam Puzzo,
Chair, The Label Committee

President’s Message

The months of June through September are among the busiest times for the OCWS. In June, the Commercial Wine and Home Wine Competitions are held. The Commercial Wine Competition will either be in progress or completed by the time The Wine Press hits your mailbox. The Home Wine Competition is two weeks later this year, Saturday, June 15. With a brief break, we will enter into a very active wine Courtyard during the annual OC Fair held from July 13 thru August 12. In September, election of Directors for the OCWS Board and the Annual Business meeting will be held.

All of this is not a surprise to many of you!  These activities and events take a tremendous amount of member volunteers to accomplish. With my apologies in advance for anyone not mentioned, I would like to spotlight some of the major efforts that are currently or will be taking place to accomplish the events mentioned.

The Commercial Competition Committee, chaired by Leslie Brown and Head of Judges Kevin Coy, supported by the Committee has been recruiting wineries—thanks to Ken Scott and Terry McLean; receiving and cataloging wines for judging—thanks to Liz and Lloyd Corbett and crew. The weekend of May 31 through June 2 will see hundreds of our members working to bring wines and supplies to and from the Hilton Hotel, serving as stewards, score verifiers, data processors, and drying thousands of glasses! Thanks to Ken and Irene Scott for organizing this small army of volunteers.

The Home Wine Competition requires judges, stewards, scoring, glass washing and drying, and food servers. This event is once again under the care of Kevin Donnelly and Jim Downey. Thanks to all of you who have signed up to make this event a success.

The Courtyard will once again be staffed by hundreds of volunteers serving and educating the public about wine and the mission of the OCWS. Thanks to Brian McDonald, Fran Gitsham, and Rich Skoczylas for leading The Courtyard Committee.

See you all at the Fair!

– Bill Redding, President

Rhone Mini-Tasting Wrap Up With Winners Recipes

The April Mini-Tasting featured Rhone style wines and was held at five host sites throughout the county. Each of the five flights of wine featured a California wine and a French wine. There were four flights of reds, and the tasting started with a white flight. Seven of the ten wines placed in the first, second, or third place at one or more of the host sites.

The overall favorite was Secret Indulgence from Emancipation in St. Helena; second place was Chateau Puech-Haut La Closerie du Pic from Languedoc-Roussillon, France; third was Amapola Creek’s Cuvee Alis from Sonoma County; and fourth was Margerum’s M5 from Santa Barbara. The four favorite wines across the five host sites are:

Place Wine & Winery Year Price Description
1st Secret Indulgence Emancipation

St. Helena, CA

2015 $29.99 Blend: 49% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 11% Petite Sirah, 11% Mourvèdre

RP 92 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate; A blend mainly of Grenache and Syrah with some Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre and Mission coming mostly from Paso Robles and Mendocino.

2nd Chateau Puech-Haut
La Closerie du PicLanguedoc-Roussillon, France
2014 $25.99 #48 wine in VinePair’s Top 50 of 2018

RP 94 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate; Full-bodied, rounded and textured, with sweet tannin and a voluptuous, fruit-forward style.

3rd Amapola Creek
Cuvee Alis
Sonoma, CA
2013 $46.99 RP 92 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
66% Grenache, 22% Mourvèdre and 12% Syrah; It is Provençal, deep, full-bodied, and a total lusty treat.
4th Margerum M5

Santa Barbara, CA

2016 $25.99 RP 90 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

42% Grenache, 36% Syrah, 14% Mourvèdre, 4% Counoise and 4% Cinsault; Reminiscent of a good Côtes du Rhône, the 2016 M5 opens in the glass with aromas of smoky black cherry, blackberry, spice, cassis and dried flowers. On the palate, it’s juicy, medium to full-bodied and supple, with a sweet core of dark fruit, good length and a youthfully primary finish.

In addition, attendees brought a delicious dish to share and then voted on a Chef of the Evening. The results of the Chef of the Evening at each host site are:

  • Hosts Gisella & Gregory Brett: Tom Richey – Beef Stew
  • Hosts Virginia & Karl Kawai: Eric Kalnes – “Amazing” dish
  • Hosts Else & Don Phillips: Kim Meier – Italian Penne with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives & Cheese
  • Hosts Ronna & Craig Rowe: Scott Lewis – Smoked Tri-Tip
  • Hosts Kim & Steven Rizzuto: Paula & Bob Becker – Cantaloupe Port Sorbet

NOTE: Three dishes tied on the initial ballot, including June & Vincent Porto’s Lasagna and Carolyn & Phil Wallace’s Coleslaw.

The detail scores by site will be posted on the OCWS website. Congratulations to all the winners! A big thank you to all of the hosts! Please send your recipes to George Cravens at George@ocws.org for possible publication on the OCWS website.

– George Cravens, Director

Winner Recipe –


Paula Becker

From Ice Cream:  The Ultimate Cold Comfort

By Jeri Quinzio

Makes one quart


1 large or 2 small cantaloupes, peeled, seeded and cut up to make 3 cups

Pinch of salt

¾ cup of sugar

¼ cup of port

3 T of orange juice

  1. Cut up the cantaloupe and measure.  To make a quart of sorbet, you’ll need 3 cups.
  2. In a blender or food processor, puree cantaloupe with the salt and sugar until the sugar is thoroughly blended throughout the mixture
  3. Add the port and the orange juice and blend.
  4. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.
  5. Churn in your ice cream maker, following manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Store in a tightly covered container in your freezer.

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 and Home Wine Competitions 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 is placed alongside each judge, and the olives neutralize 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, olive oils and elegant gift baskets. 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 Message

In the February edition of The Wine Press, I encouraged everyone to try some new things. I am happy to report that I have visited a winery that is new to me and will definitely be added to my list of wineries to re-visit.

The OCWS also sponsored our first Wine Education Seminar which was well attended and garnered great reviews. The second in the series, “Wines of Bordeaux,” was held on April 14. Kudos to Irene Scott, Wine Education Chair, for getting this series going. Do not miss out on future wine education seminar opportunities.

If that was not enough, April was also the month for our Annual Wine Auction that was attended by a record number of members. Thanks to all the dozens of volunteers who made this event such a success, and to the members who purchased auction lots to help sustain us financially.

In rapid succession, April 12 was the Red Soles Winery program, April 27 the Rhone Mini-Tasting, and the Champagne Brunch was held at Newport Landing on April 28. Please thank the Event Chairs, volunteers and hosts when you see them.

There are so many new members attending our events for the first time. If you are one of our “veteran” members, please introduce yourself, invite someone to sit at your table, offer assistance, and make them feel welcome.

With the 2019 Commercial Wine Competition on June 1 and 2 and the 2019 Home Wine Competition on June 15, a lot will be happening on the competition side of the OCWS. If you are interested in volunteering for either of these events, please refer to The Wine Press or visit our website at ocws.org for more details. Cheers!

– Bill Redding, President

Home Wine Competition Volunteers Needed

Calling all volunteers! The 2019 Home Wine Competition will be held on June 15th in the OC Fair Courtyard, and volunteers are needed to ensure our success!

We need your help to make this year’s OC Fair/OCWS Home Wine Competition successful. We need over 100 volunteers to run this event on Saturday, June 15 from 7:30 am to about 1:00 pm (or later if you stay to taste the wines). Winemakers and non-winemakers are invited to volunteer before the general membership so you can get the position you want.

To sign up, please go to the ocws.org website and click on Competitions, then Home Wine, and fill out the form.

You will get two great meals made by the Cooks’ Caucus and get to taste all the great wines after judging is complete.

In addition, there will be a “thank you” party for all volunteers and persons that submitted wines to be held at The Courtyard on Sunday, June 16 with food and all the gold and double gold wines to taste!

Jim Downey,
Volunteer Coordinator