Commercial Competition

2022 OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition Wrap Up

The 46th Annual Commercial Wine Competition was held on June 4 and 5 at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa. The weekend found 85 professional winemakers and winery principals judging 2,516 wines, and the OCWS resoundingly rebounding from a couple of strange COVID restricted years and, although we were still in the midst of a milder variant outbreak, hundreds of volunteers braved the current COVID environment to bring a successful end to another amazing Competition.

The Competition Committee worked tirelessly since last September to make this happen and will have just enough time to take a deep breath before beginning again this September in anticipation of 2023.

Following are the Committee members who put their hearts, sweat and tears into making this Competition a reality and a raving success:

  • Kevin Coy, Head of Judges
  • Liz & Lloyd Corbett, Wine Cataloging Leads and Mentors
  • Stacey Taylor, Tech Lead/Competition Software and Results Website Creator
  • Robyn & Dean Strom, Volunteer Coordinators
  • Rochelle Randel, Judges’ Liaison
  • Bill Redding, Facilities Coordinator
  • Chris Bruce, Scoring Verification Lead
  • Greg Hagadorn, Move Coordinator and
    Bagging/Sort Mentor
  • Dave White, Wine Bagging
  • George Cravens, Assist Extraordinaire
  • Carolyn Christian, Marketing
  • Sam Puzzo & Carol Frank, Label/Bottle Competition
    Coordinators

And, although not technically on the Committee roster, I would be remiss if I did not mention:

  • Dave Stancil, Data Entry Coordinator
  • Leslie Brown, New Committee Chair Mentor
  • Jane Gold, Head of Judges’ Assist
  • Teri & John Lane, Cataloging Understudies

And the hundreds of volunteers who stewarded, manned the kitchen, dried glasses, directed traffic, verified scores, and data entries, input data entries, coordinated judges’ food, etc., etc.

As a first year Competition Chairperson, I couldn’t have imagined a more cohesive, accommodating, and hard-working Committee to make me feel really great about what we all accomplished as a team! My heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone who had anything to do with the success of the Competition and for personally holding mine, and each other’s hands and hearts!

For Competition results check out WineCompetition.com and look to enjoy some of the fruits of the winemakers’ labors.

– Fran Gitsham, 2022 Commercial Wine Competition Chair

Commercial Wine Competition: Judges with Hearts of Gold

All of our OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition judges have huge hearts, but there are always a few whose love and support of the OCWS goes above and beyond.

This year three judges donated their stipends back to the OCWS as contributions to our Scholarship Fund. Thanks to the following judges, our Scholarship Fund now has an additional $900 to grant to students in the future.

  • Joseph S. Franzia, Forest Glen Winery
  • Jessica Gasca, Story of Soil
  • Fred Weibel, Weibel Family Vineyards & Winery

Should you have the good fortune to cross paths with any of these amazing people, please remember to thank them for their kindness and generosity on behalf of the OCWS.

– Rochelle Randel,
Commercial Wine Competition  Judges’ Liaison

Earn OC Fair Drink Tickets Redeemable at The Courtyard this Year

Help us get new wineries registered for the 2022 OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition!

On March 17, the Orange County Wine Society sent you an email entitled: “2022 OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition – Help Us Get the word out …”

Here are the easy steps for you to take to earn extra drink tickets:

  1. Forward the email mentioned above to your favorite wineries that have not signed up for the Competition before; and
  2. Make sure to blind copy Liz Corbett (Liz@ocws.org) on your emails so that we can give you credit when they sign up.

If your winery enters their wines in this year’s Competition (and they are new to our Competition), you will be rewarded with additional drink tickets during the OC Fair. Your efforts will also be recognized in the OCWS Wine Press newsletter.

Thank you for supporting the OCWS and getting the word out about the OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition which is the largest competition of wines from California grown grapes.

Questions, contact Liz at the above email address.

– Liz Corbett,
2022 Commercial Wine Competition Administrator

Commercial Wine Competition Volunteers

This year is speeding by so quick, it is hard to believe we are preparing for the 46th Commercial Wine Competition this year!!  The sign up is on our website, (must be login), released Friday, March 11.

We appreciate your flexibility in w/2022-commercial-competition-volunteers/orking together to make this another fun event. There are many areas where volunteer help is needed such as stewarding, glass washing and drying, as well as a handful of positions for computer verification. Continuing the efficiency of the past, the computer input positions will be assigned. A sign-up form is included on the website that identifies stewarding days, bagging nights, and other work parties with times and dates. In order to qualify for stewarding, it is required that you to sign up for a minimum of two additional work parties. We offer bagging and moving of wine to and from the Competition site, and including sorting day later in June. We need your support for our work parties in order to run a successful Competition. The good news is that we will have some hired help for heavy lifting. No training is necessary, as newer members will be teamed with Competition veterans.

As a heads up, if you volunteer to steward, it means carrying trays of glasses—it’s physical and can get tiring. Along with stewarding, you need to be prepared to assist your Steward Captain with opening wine bottles, preparing glasses for tags and cleanup of the judges’ tables as needed, under the direction of your designated Steward Captain. Please dress accordingly, using your OCWS apron is recommended. Sneakers or shoes you can walk (forward, always forward…not against traffic) comfortably in all day.

If you have any questions, please feel free to phone me at 562.822.3382 or email me at Strompharms@earthlink.net. We look forward to your participation in making this very important event as successful as ever.

.– Robyn Strom, Volunteer Coordinator

Commercial Wine Competition Volunteers

We are headed toward the 46th Commercial Competition this year!! As in previous years, we will have signups online in March.

We understand that these are changing times and conditions, so we appreciate your flexibility in working together to make this another fun event. There are many areas where volunteer help is needed such as stewarding, glass washing and drying, as well as computer verification. Continuing the efficiency of the past, the computer input positions will be assigned. A sign-up form is included on the website that identifies stewarding days, bagging nights, and other work parties with times and dates. In order to qualify for stewarding, it is required of you to sign up for two additional work parties.

We offer bagging and moving of wine to and from the Competition site, including sorting. We definitely need your support for our work parties in order to run a successful competition. The good news is that we will have some hired help for heavy lifting. No training is necessary as newer members will be teamed with competition veterans.

A heads up, if you volunteer to steward, it means carrying trays of glasses. It’s physical and can get tiring. Along with stewarding, you need to be prepared to assist your Steward Captain with opening wine bottles, preparing glasses for tags and cleanup of the judges’ tables as needed, under the direction of your designated Steward Captain.

If you have any questions, please feel free to phone me at 562.822.3382 or email at Strompharms@earthlink.net.

We look forward to your participation in making this very important event as successful as ever.

– Robyn Strom, Volunteer Coordinator

2021 Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition Recap

The 45th OC Fair Wine Competition was held June 5-6 at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa. After having to cancel the 44th Competition due to the pandemic, the Committee was not certain we would be able to hold this year’s event. We were notified in late March that the Fair had decided that the Event could go forward. The Committee had approximately nine weeks to plan, advertise, promote, obtain and catalog wines for the event. This was a monumental task, and there is no way it could have occurred without the hard work of the Committee, as well as many other OCWS members.

The Committee deserves credit for working diligently and under difficult conditions to ensure that the event was a success. Virtual meetings, COVID-19 mitigations and a shortened timeline were all obstacles to be overcome. The Committee did an excellent job. Each committee member went above and beyond in their efforts this year.

During the weekend, we remembered two of our members and one judge who sadly are no longer with us.

Dennis Esslinger served as Director of Judges for several years, and Bob Trout led the Label Competition. Both worked closely with their wives, Carol and Marj, who continued to volunteer this year.

We also remembered Don Galleano who sadly passed away June 2. His wines won two Double Gold awards this year—a fitting tribute.

Many other OCWS members were instrumental in making this year’s event a reality.

An impressive 1,400 phone calls were made by volunteers to wineries to personally request that they enter the Competition. Without these phone calls, we would not have had a sufficient number of entries to hold the event. Thank you to all of our members who made these calls—they were invaluable.

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped Liz and Lloyd Corbett with cataloging over 2,440 wines in such a brief period of time.

Of course, a major thank you to all the volunteers who worked the event, a task made more daunting due to mask-wearing and other COVID-19 mitigations.

I would also like to thank the computer entry and verifying people working with Dave Stancil who came in early on Sunday morning of the Competition weekend to catch up due to an internet issue on Saturday. And another “thank you” to Dave for doing computer entry during the Steering Committee meeting following the Competition.

Integral to the success of the event are our judges, all winemakers or winery principals. They agreed to judge even as conditions were uncertain. We are very fortunate that Orange County was in the yellow tier which allowed more flexibility for the venue and more confidence in being together in groups.

It was a pleasure to work with the staff at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa. They know our event and were extremely accommodating in working with us.

I would love to list the names of everyone who made the weekend a success, but this article is way too long as it is. Please know that your efforts are appreciated, and I cannot express my gratitude enough.

All 2021 Commercial Wine Competition results can be accessed on WineCompetition.com.

– Leslie Brown, 2021 Commercial Wine Competition Chair

Annual Wine Label Competition Results

For any members who were at the Commercial Wine Competition the weekend of June 5 and 6, it is hoped you participated and enjoyed the Annual Wine Label Competition. We judged up to 10 labels in each of 12 categories. All participants voted on their favorite labels, and now the winners can be revealed. From the Gold Medal winners, the Label Committee selected a Best of Show. The Label Committee will present a display at the OC Fair similar to prior years with pictures of the labels. Best of Show winner is voted by members of the Label Committee from the Gold Medal winners. RB Cellars from Thematic Category Labels include:

2019

 

Roussane, Lake County         2013 Zinfandel, Napa Valley          Bourdeaux Style Blend, Napa Valley           Methode Champemoise, Lodi

Gold Medal winners by Category, voted on by all present for 2021 OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition:

  • Architecture/Scenery: Catalina View, 2017 Chardonnay, Paso Robles
  • Best Use of Color: Macchia, 2019 Notorious
  • Bottle Display: Carol Shelton, 2019 Wild Thing Rendezvous Rose
  • Contemporary: Allen Hancock College Winery, 2019 White Wine
  • Fauna: Mira Laguna, 2018 Drift
  • Figurative: Kelsey See Canyon, 2020 Orange Muscat
  • Flora: Aloria, 2018 Syrah/Grenache
  • Lettering/Caligraphy: Harney Lane, Petite Sirah, Lodi
  • Name Representation: Big Nose, 2018 Meritage
  • Special Effects: Ron Noble, 2018 Chardonnay, Steiner Vineyard
  • Thematic: Tie: RB Cellars and Second Line Wines
  • Whimsical: Lost Hog, 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County

– Sam Puzzo, Label Competition Chair

Graber Olive House, a Valued Supporter of the OCWS

The Orange County 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, and this year was no different.

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 Olive House is located in quiet, serene surroundings. Visitors will be delighted to discover a bit of early California when they visit. Graber Olive House is located at 215 East Fourth Street, Ontario, CA 91764.

Judges with Hearts of Gold

All of our OC Fair Commercial Competition judges have huge hearts, but there are always a handful whose love and support of the OCWS goes above and beyond. This year six judges donated their stipends back to the OCWS as contributions to our scholarship fund. Thanks to the following judges, our scholarship fund now has an additional $1,800.00 to grant to students in the future.

  • Joseph S. Franzia, Forest Glen Winery
  • Linda McWilliams, San Pasqual Winery
  • Joel Peterson, Once and Future Wines
  • Oscar Ramos, Ramos Torres Wines
  • H. Marty Spate, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers
  • Fred Wiebel, Weibel Family Vineyards & Winery

Should you have the good fortune to cross paths with any of these amazing people, please remember to thank them for their kindness and generosity on behalf of the OCWS.

– Fran Gitsham, Commercial Wine Competition Committee

2021 Commercial Wine Competition Volunteers Needed

The Commercial Wine Competition Committee is continuing to move forward with the planning of the 2021 Commercial Wine Competition. It is scheduled for the weekend of June 5-6, 2021. Of course, our volunteers are critical to its success!

We understand there is still uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic and we are working with the OC Fair and Event Center Administration, taking the necessary steps to prioritize the safety of all of our members. We want you to know that concern for our volunteers is at the forefront. We are developing plans to adhere to and follow all guidelines, rules and regulations as set forth by the national, state, and local government and health departments. Since we are in the early planning stages for the event, there will be many questions you may have – we only ask that you be flexible, as nothing has been etched in stone at this point in time.

This event offers many opportunities: meet the winemakers and winery principals, increase your wine knowledge, enjoy getting to know your fellow OCWS members, and experience some great California wines. There are many tasks where volunteer help is needed: stewarding, glass washing and drying, verification of scores and computer input. No training is necessary as newer volunteers will be teamed with experienced competition volunteers.

All volunteer sign-ups are now done online! The volunteer site identifies bagging nights, stewarding days, and other work tasks with dates and times. In order to qualify for stewarding, you will need to sign up for two additional work parties. We offer bagging, hotel setup, and moving of wine to and from the competition site. In addition, volunteers can elect to work the sorting and medal mailing crews in late June.

An email announcement will be sent late March notifying members when sign-ups begin. Please make sure your email address is up to date in the ocws.org website as we will be using your email to send you confirmations. If you have questions about volunteering, please email us at Robyn@ocws.org. We look forward to your participation in this very important event! 

– Robyn & Dean Strom, Volunteer Coordinators
Commercial Wine Competition Committee