2017 Board of Director Elections: Electronic Voting is Here

As you know from articles that have been published in The Wine Press, the Board of Directors has been investigating electronic voting. At its last meeting, the Board approved electronic voting for the 2017 Board of Director elections using a company called eBallot.com.

From a cost perspective, electronic voting and hard copy “snail mail” voting are about a push. Studies have shown electronic voting usually increases the participation in the voting process because it only takes a few minutes and requires a few clicks of the mouse. Getting more members to vote should be viewed as a positive. In addition, it is totally anonymous and the results are available within minutes after the ballot period ends.

Here is how it will work:

1. If you have a single membership and what appears on the surface to be a valid email address, you will receive an electronic ballot. If you do not have what appears to be a valid email address (i.e., your email address of record begins with “fake….”), you will receive a hard copy ballot which you must complete and return. Your ballot must be received by the Chair of the Election Committee no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, September 29.

2. If you have a dual membership with only one email address that appears on the surface to be valid, two email ballots will be sent to that single email address, one addressed to each member. Each ballot will have its own unique log in and password.

If you have a dual membership with what appears on the surface to be a valid email


address for each member, each member will receive his or her email ballot, each with a unique log in and password.

4. If you have a dual membership with what does not appear on the surface to be a valid email address for either member, a hard copy ballot will be mailed to each member each of which will have to be received by the Chair of the Election Committee no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, September 29.

The OCWS is not responsible for bounced email addresses any more than it is responsible for returned hard copy ballots received after the voting deadline. OCWS members manage their own profile and are responsible to insure their email address is accurate.

Here is how the email ballot will work:

You will receive an email ballot from eBallot.com identifying it as being the OCWS ballot. It will have a link to the eBallot.com OCWS portal with a log in and password. Click on the link, enter your log in and password and you will be presented with a list of candidates, their picture and candidate statement. You can then proceed to vote for up to three candidates. Vote for the candidates of your choice, then close your ballot. You will not be able to vote a second time or change your vote. This is no different than using a hard copy ballot. Once you mail or deliver your ballot, it cannot be changed.

Shortly after 5:00 pm on Friday, September 29, the Chair of the Elections Committee will receive a notification from eBallot.com indicating the number of votes cast for each candidate.

I want to emphasize that electronic voting will only be used if there are more than three members who have filed a Declaration of Candidacy within the prescribed period.

We will be submitting the database of qualified members to eBallot.com by Friday, August 25. Between now and then, I encourage you to open your online profile and confirm your email address (and that of your co-member if a dual membership) is correct.

 – Jim Beard, President



Between July 14 and August 31, OCWS will again be running a membership promotion.  Each person joining during that period will receive a $15 coupon which can be used for any OCWS event except the purchase of merchandise and membership dues (that’s one $15 coupon for a single membership and two $15 coupons for a dual membership).  The coupon will be automatically added to the new member’s on line account but will expire July 15, 2018.  This promotion is available to anyone who has not previously been a member of OCWS.

If you have friends who have expressed in interest in the Wine Society or you think may have an interest in the Wine Society, this is a great time for them to join.  Please share this opportunity with them.


Gold Medal Wines Mini-Tasting: Wrap Up

A total of 168 members and guests attended the July Gold Medal Mini-Tasting held at nine host sites. The evening began with a Gold medal winning wine from Gloria Ferrer, Blanc de Noir, Carneros.

A blind tasting followed with six flights of two wines each. The superb selection of wines chosen by Chris Cunningham had tough competition with many sites reporting “ties” for the top wines.

The three favorite wines of the nine host sites are listed below:

  • First Place: Ballantine, 2015 Zinfandel, Napa Valley at $30
  • Second Place: J. Lohr, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hilltop, Paso Robles at $35
  • Third Place: 2015 Eberle, Barbera, Kokopelli, Steinbeck, Partridge Vineyards, Paso Robles at $32

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 Chris Cunningham: Mike and Deborah Webber, Chile Relleno
  • Hosts Pat and Frank Solis: Tom Richey, Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends
  • Host Jolen Zeroski: Sheila Tedesco, Chocolate Fruit Cup with Sherbert
  • Hosts BJ and Tina Fornadley: Judy Koeblitz, Chicken Devine
  • Hosts Marcia and James Vaughan: Simone Dygert, Boeuf Bourguignon
  • Hosts Stephen and Nancy Edwards: Nancy Harman, Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • Hosts Sam Puzzo and Carol Frank: Carol Frank, Smoked St. Louis Ribs
  • Hosts Stacey and Wendy Taylor: Bill Forsch and Noel DeSota, Nicoise Salad
  • Hosts Craig and Ronna Rowe: Kathy Krieger, Blackberry Crisp

Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to the Hosts! A special thank you goes to Chris Cunningham for his selection of the Gold Medal wines.

For additional information on more award winning wines, visit  winecompetition.com.

Please send your recipes to Bill Redding at Bill@ocws.org as a possible recipe in a future newsletter article.

– Bill Redding, Director

OCWS Board of Directors: Call for Candidates

See current Candidate Statements.

Have you thought about getting more involved with the OCWS outside of volunteering for or attending  various OCWS-related events? Have you thought about where the direction of the OCWS is headed in the next 5 to 10 years?  Would you like to be a part of navigating the OCWS into the future? 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.

ElectionsThe overall time commitment for a member of the Board of Director varies, based on assignments and participation. All Board Members are expected to attend the monthly Board Meetings. Board members are also expected to organize and manage certain events and projects as assigned by the President. These responsibilities will generally require several hours per month of your time. Additionally, Board Members are expected to attend as many OCWS events as possible and are granted free attendance at most events for their participation.

It is not a one size fits all mentality that makes a successful Board Member. It is the ability to accept an exchange of differing ideas and a combination of differing skills that has been the culture, legacy and success of the OCWS.

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; 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 25, 2017.

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. Greg can be reached at Greg@ocws.org. Involvement as a Director of the OCWS can be both personally and professionally rewarding.

– Greg Hagadorn, 2017 Election Chair

Judges Giving Back

The support of the judges at the Commercial Wine Competition knows no bounds. With the exception of a small stipend, competition judges pay their own way to attend and participate in the judging process. Each year a handful of judges donate their stipends to create a Judge’s Scholarship, which is then granted in their honor by the OCWS. This year we extend our heartfelt appreciation to those judges who collectively donated $1,600.00 toward our mission of scholarship fundraising for grants in enology, viticulture, and culinary arts.

Special thanks to the following judges for their kindness and generosity:

  • Tondi Bolkan, Francis Ford Coppola Winery
  • Onodine Chattan, Geyser Peak Winery
  • John Kane, Fetzer Vineyards
  • Steve Lohr, J. Lohr Winery
  • Lisa Russell, Korbel Champagne Cellars
  • H. Marty Spate, Blossom Hill
  • Fred Weibel, Jr., Weibel Family Vineyards and Winery
  • Evelyn Taft, Taft Street Winery

We urge all our OCWS members, whose paths may at times cross with these generous people in their travels, to please thank them personally and relay to them just how much their caring ways mean to all of us.

Thank you!

– Fran Gitsham, Director

Syrah & Petite Sirah Mini-Tasting: The Results Are In

On April 22, OCWS members and guests attended the April Mini-Tasting at four host sites. The blind tasting consisted of five flights of two wines each with wines from Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills, Dry Creek, Amador County, Australia’s Eden Valley and Barossa Valley. The tasting, in addition to Syrah, included two Petite Sirahs and two Shiraz from Australia. The top five favorite wines from the host sites were:

Placement Winery Name Year Price Description
1st Macchia 2015 $25.00 Petite Sirah, ‘Dubious’  OCWS Gold
2nd Halter Ranch 2014 $35.00 Syrah, Adelaida District
3rd Ridge 2014 $35.00 Petite Sirah, Lytton Estate, Dry Creek
4th EB Winery 2014 $31.00 Syrah, Santa Barbara, OCWS Silver
5th McPrice Myers 2013 $20.00 Syrah, ‘Right Hand Man’ Central Coast

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 were:

  • Hosts Pat and Frank Solis — Eric Kalnes — Tri Tip
  • Hosts Bob and Judy Koeblitz — Carolyn and Phil Wallace — Asparagus Wraps
  • Host Linda Bauermeister — Linda Bauermeister — Lasagna
  • Hosts Kern Vogel & Linda Martin — Bill Forsch & Noel DeSota — Billy’s Crying Tiger Rip with Cilantro Shrimp and Rice Noodles

Congratulations to all of the winners and a big “thank you” to the hosts! Please send your recipes to Bill Redding at Bill@ocws.org for posting on the OCWS website.

– Bill Redding, Director

Spotlighting a OCWS Winemaker: Ed Szubielski

Ed Szubielski began making wine 13 years ago. It was the following year that Ed decided to join the OCWS Winemakers’ Group to improve his craft – and improve he did!

Being a wine collector since the 1980s, Ed decided to grow grapes in his own backyard. Ed was always determined to make the best wines and sought out the best fruit. It was in Ed’s very own backyard where members of the Winemakers’ Group met Chris Van Alyea of Solterra Winery in Encinitas. To this day, the Winemakers’ Group buys Dry Creek Merlot, Chardonnay, and Alexander Valley Cabernet grapes from Chris.

EB Bottle

Ed’s “Eddie’s Backyard” label kept winning awards at the OC Fair Home Wine Competition. He was encouraged to enter the largest amateur winemaking competition in the U.S., an event annually held by Winemaker Magazine.

In 2009, Ed won the “Grand Champion” award with a 2007 Syrah from White Hawk Vineyards in Santa Barbara for best amateur wine in the US. His Syrah was selected No. 1 out of 4,474 entries. Pretty impressive! When Ed arrived at the next Winemakers’ Group meeting, he was greeted with We are the Champions by Queen. But if that were not enough, Ed won Best of Class in the 2013 National Competition for his 2011 Pinot Noir. That’s best Pinot in one year in the US and Best Wine in another year.

After retiring from a successful career as an executive in the automobile parts industry, Ed followed the path of several OCWS winemakers: Doffo, Roadrunner Ridge, Filsinger, Boorman and many others, and decided to “go commercial.” The colorful, amateur “Eddie’s Backyard” label is now an elegant “EB Winery” label in black.

Ed’s wines are available for tasting and purchase at his new store, We Olive & Wine Bar, located in San Juan Capistrano directly across from the entrance to the San Juan Capistrano Mission, or online at EBwinery.com. Eight EB Winery wines are on the tasting menu at We Olive, as well as hard to find domestic artisan wines.

It has been an exciting journey for Ed over the years, and we are quite confident that Ed will continue to produce excellent wines!

– Kevin Donnelly

Graber Olive House, Longtime 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 along side each judge neutralizes the elements in both reds and whites, works wonders for the palate and tastes fantastic, too.

C.C. Graber purchased land in Ontario and discovered olives, cured by the early ranchers, to be one of the finest food delicacies of California. It was the tradition of early Californians to set their tables with plenty of fruits and wine, and olives. Mr. Graber began to cure several barrels himself after a successful growing season.

Graber olives are different from typical olives sold in grocery stores. 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 nut-like 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,

Hotel Reservations for Commercial Wine Competition

If you plan on staying at the Costa Mesa Hilton hotel for the weekend of the Commercial Wine Competition, please make reservations no later than May 19, 2017. The OCWS has booked a block of rooms for OCWS members at a discounted rate and this rate is guaranteed only until that date. The special rate […]
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Pinot Noir Mini-Tasting: The Results Are In

A total of 88 members and guests attended the February 4 Mini-Tasting at five host sites. The blind tasting consisted of five flights of two wines each with wines from Carneros, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Santa Rita Hills, Sonoma and Santa Lucia Highlands. The top three favorite wines of the five host sites were: First […]
This content is only available to members.