Wendy Taylor

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

In Memoriam: Tony Marino


We are terribly sad to share the news that our colleague, mentor and friend, Tony Marino, passed away on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Tony was respected and appreciated across the OCWS for his wine knowledge, generosity, sense of humor, and passion. Tony will be remembered with great fondness, and as a good friend. We extend our deepest condolences to Tony’s wife, Janet, and to their families during this difficult time. A dedication to Tony will be featured in the October edition of The Wine Press and on the OCWS website.

– OCWS Board of Directors

President’s Wine Snips – From the Heart…

This will be my next to last President’s article, as I will have served six years as a Director and, under our Bylaws, will be termed out at the end of September. I have tried to use this column wisely as a forum to share with all of you some of the history of the OCWS, to take a peek at the behind the scenes workings, and to highlight the magnitude of what it takes to run this amazing organization. This article is going to be different in that I want to tell you why I think the OCWS is so incredible and why it holds a huge place in my heart.

To me, the Orange County Wine Society is a microcosm of what the entire world should be. We have members ranging from their 20s to their 90s, members of all races, religions, political affiliations, and sexual orientations. We have doctors, lawyers, white and blue collar workers. But none of that matters because what everyone in this organization has is heart and passion and, for the most part, they don’t care about the trimmings or the labels. They care about the success of the organization and its educational mission and the camaraderie that nowhere else in my life has something like this been found. This group has hundreds of people willing to go out of their way to hold others up and come together for a better cause than one’s self. Absolutely amazing in my estimation!

I have watched the people around me circle and embrace those in need of support as often as I have seen them laugh, dance, occasionally drink (okay, maybe that’s a bit of an understatement), and work their tails off to make every aspect of our eclectic group a raving success. On a personal note, this group has held my heart at the highest points in my life, the years after my husband and I joined, and at the lowest point, when I was widowed. It was people within the OCWS that encouraged me to get back out into the world again, lifted me up and gave me the courage to help lead this organization, if but for a brief time. I am so proud to have been a Director and having had the opportunity to be your President.

As those of you who led before well know, we do not go quietly, as we continue to be die-hard volunteers, and our faces pop up all year round in one capacity or another. I will be amongst great company as a past President. The only thing I ask of all of you is to show the support and compassion to those coming next as much as you have shown me and, for me personally, please don’t stop giving me hugs when our paths cross, which I hope will be often!

– Fran Gitsham, President

Volunteer Position for an Award Book Editor and Publisher

The OCWS is currently seeking a volunteer to serve as Editor and Publisher of the Commercial Wine Competition Award Book. The Award Book is created every June after the Commercial Wine Competition and is maintained in Microsoft Word, published in PDF format, and uploaded onto the OCWS.org website. The Book contains both text and photos. As a point of reference, this year’s Award Book can be located at OCWS.org within the Commercial Competition section.

As Editor and Publisher, you will be responsible for updating the Double Gold and Best of Class winners, as well as updating the Label and Bottle winners. All information and photos will be provided.

The successful candidate must have knowledge of and experience with Microsoft Word (for text editing and photo insertion) and Acrobat Pro (for final merge and publishing).

You will interface and work closely with OCWS committee members in the Bottle & Label Competition Group, the Bottle Photo Shoot Group and the Data Reporting Group.

It is expected that this task be completed within one week after the Commercial Wine Competition results are announced, usually the second week of June. This task will take approximately 8 hours to complete.

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Stacey Taylor at 949.521.2228 or by email at Stacey@ocws.org.

– Stacey Taylor, Director

Gold Medal Mini-Tasting Wrap Up

Over 160 members and guests attended the Gold Medal Mini-Tasting on July 7 at nine host sites. The evening began with a Gold medal winning Viognier from Falkner Winery in Temecula and a Double-Gold Chenin Blanc from Dry Creek Vineyards (Clarksburg AVA).

The blind tasting followed with seven flights of two wines each. For additional information on more award winning wines, visit  winecompetion.com. The wines covered a wide range of styles with three white pairs, one Rosé pair, and three red pairs. Several sites reported ties in their top three, and eight of the fourteen wines finished in the top three at one or more sites. The three favorite wines of the nine host sites and three others that tied for fourth are listed below:

Place Winery Name Year Price Description
1st DeWitt Vineyards 2015 $28 Tempranillo, Amador County, Double Gold. Three first, one second, and three third place finishes
2nd Trentadue La Storia 2016 $28 Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, Double Gold. Two first, two second, and one third place finishes
3rd Carol Shelton – Black Magic 2017 $20
375 ml
Late-harvest Zinfandel, Sonoma, Double Gold. Two first, one second, and one third place finishes
4th-tie Sunce Winery 2016 $30 Mission, San Francisco AVA, Gold, One first and one third place finish
4th-tie Orange Coast Cellars 2017 $29.99 Albarino, Double Gold, One first and three third place finishes
4th-tie Blair Estates 2013 $40 Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco AVA, Double Gold, three second place finishes

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:

  • Host Carol Frank & Sam Puzzo: Kevin Coy’s “Marinated Flank Steak”
  • Hosts Betty Jo & Jay Newell: Irene Scott’s “Flourless Chocolate Cake
    with homemade vanilla bean Ice Cream”
  • Host Linda Baumeister: Linda Ellenburg’s “Carrot Cake”
  • Hosts BJ & Tina Fornadley: Fred Heinecke’s “BBQ Tri-tip”
  • Hosts Nancy & Stephen Edwards: Allison Snyder’s “Cherry Cheesecake”
  • Hosts Marcia & James Vaughan: Marcia Vaughan’s “Peach & Blackberry Crisp”
  • Hosts Wendy & Stacey Taylor: Bill Forsch and Noel DeSota’s
    “Brisket and Burnt ends with 2 sauces”
  • Hosts Virginia & Karl Kawai: Dino Amico’s “Champagne Risotto”
  • Hosts Janae & Bob Unruh: (Tie) Nancy Harman’s “Chocolate Brandy Pudding Mousse shots” and Linda Crawford’s “Herb Roasted Salmon”

Congratulations to all the winners! A big “thank you” to all the Hosts!

Please send your recipes to George Cravens at George@ocws.org as a possible recipe in a future Newsletter article.

– George Cravens, Director

New Member Promotion

Join the Orange County Wine Society between July 12 and August 31 and receive a $15 coupon that can be used for any OCWS event (except membership renewal and merchandise). The coupons are valid until July 15, 2019. That means a $40 single membership really costs only $25 and a $60 dual membership only costs $30.  Such a deal! Tell a friend, tell two friends.

– Brian McDonald, Membership Chair

2018 Wine Label & Bottle Design Competition

This Competition gives recognition to outstanding label and bottle designs for California wines entered in the Commercial Wine Competition each year, in support of winery interests in creating eye appeal, easy recognition, and promotional value for their wines. The emphasis here is on the artistic and expressive visual presentation of the wines on initial contact by the wine enthusiast at retail or their home, in addition to the intrinsic value of each wine tasted and savored when enjoyed.

Wineries entering their wines for the Commercial Wine Competition are encouraged to submit four labels for each entry. The Commercial Label Committee, comprised of OCWS members with backgrounds in visual and graphic arts, assigns each label to one of 11 categories, including Best Use of Color, Contemporary Design, Figurative, Flora, Special Effects, Thematic Series, and others. Of the grouping in each category, the Committee selects ten highest valued labels to present for judging by OCWS membership. The bottles are identified upon receipt as exceptionally designed, including two-toned glass, wax dripping over cork, glow in the dark graphics, uniquely shaped, and other fascinating features.

OCWS members and guests attending and participating in the 2018 Commercial Wine Competition the first weekend of June this year reviewed the selected labels and voted on the top three in each category, which by their vote counts were then awarded First, Second and Third Place in each category. The winery is then acknowledged with an Award Letter and a Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal for their winning labels (an actual thick, metallic medal about 2.5” in diameter on a dark blue striped ribbon).

All label winners are displayed on two large, black boards on the eastern display wall at The Courtyard for the duration of the Fair for all attendees to view and enjoy. We hope you each will appreciate these exceptional winery achievements in label creativity by visiting the Label Award displays at The Courtyard!

If you don’t get a chance to view the Label Award displays while visiting The Courtyard, the Label Award winners can be located on the ocws.org website under the Commercial Wine Competition section, in the link identified as 2018 Award Book.

– Kathryn Hansen

Image is of Best of Show Label Winner Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards.

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 have a great opportunity right now for the first time in a long time. Three Board members’ terms are expiring, and they are ineligible to run again.

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 and involvement with event committees
  • 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 24, 2018.

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, 2018 Election Chair