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 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.

The Courtyard Sign-Ups

Sign ups for The Courtyard will be online starting May 1. Shifts are generally filled on a first-come basis, so if you have favorite shifts, it is best to sign up […]
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2017 Courtyard Breaks All Records

The 2017 OC Fair, although now just a memory, is still very fresh in the minds and hearts of the 316 OCWS volunteers whose dedication and enthusiasm made this year’s Courtyard the most successful in OCWS history! With over 1,440 shifts worked at The Courtyard during the Fair, and thousands of hours spent behind the scenes before and after, this year found us smashing records from previous years. The Courtyard grossed the largest income in OCWS history.

The Orange County Fair & Event Center allowed us to partner with them to run both the Commercial and Home Wine Competitions and also gave us the opportunity to run The Courtyard. Income generated from The Courtyard has paid for both competitions and will cover OCWS’ overhead for the following year. Generous donations made by the general public contributed significantly to our Scholarship Fund.

Aside from The Courtyard requiring a lot of hard work and dedication, there’s always the fun factor. Here are some fun facts from this year:

  • Varietal Wines Sold: 17,536 glasses
  • Red & White Cellar Specials Sold: 9,302 glasses
  • Champagne Splits Sold: 4,439 bottles
  • Award Tastes Sold: 13,179
  • GoVino Glasses Sold: 3,870
  • The Express Bar: 5,977 transactions
  • Top 4 pm to 9 pm shift transactions: Saturday, July 15, 1066 transactions within 5 hours, or 213 transaction per hour, or 4 per minute
  • Largest credit card shift transactions: 4 pm to 8 pm, Saturday, August 12, 139 transactions within 4 hours, or 1 every 2 minutes
  • Largest credit card shift: 4 pm to 8 pm, Wednesday, August 9, totaling $2,366
  • Most shift transactions: 4 pm to 8 pm, Saturday, August 12, 447 transactions, or 1 every 31 seconds
  • Largest Scholarship Donation Day: Saturday, July 15, $1,320 in donations

The success of The Courtyard is due in no small part to all OCWS volunteers who manned or maintained The Courtyard in any number of capacities, or by simply lending moral support. It took each and every one of our volunteers to make The Courtyard a success and provide the OCWS with a fabulous financial foundation going into the next year.

Thank you to each and every one of our volunteers!

– Fran Gitsham, Brian McDonald & Lloyd Corbett
The Courtyard Co-Chairs

Making It Happen: Featured Winery Program

From conception to execution, Lloyd Corbett made it happen. Lloyd organized the highly successful Featured Winery Program held at The Courtyard during the OC Fair this year. He extended invitations to those wineries who support the OCWS and entered the 2017 Commercial Wine Competition.

The Express Bar, located within The Courtyard, was set up from noon to 4 pm. At this dedicated location, owners and/or winemakers were able to provide tastings or pour full glasses of their currently featured wines, share their winery history, and offer wine club memberships. The participating wineries also had the opportunity to meet OCWS members and its customers.

The OCWS had the pleasure and honor of hosting the following wineries:

  • Greg and Pamela Martin of Seven Angels Cellars in Paso Robles. Seven Angels Cellars made a second appearance.
  • Curt and Kate Dubost of Dubost Winery in Paso Robles
  • Phil Kaplan of Velvet Bee Winery in Santa Ynez Valley
  • Doug, Debbie and Joseph Wiens of Wiens Family Cellars in Temecula and Orange Coast Winery in Newport Beach
  • Michael Cox of Dark Star Cellars in Paso Robles

We extend our heartfelt thank you to all of the wineries that participated in our Featured Winery Program this year. A special note of appreciation is also extended to these participating wineries for providing additional wine for our use behind the service bar, for special events in The Courtyard during the OC Fair and for our Wine Wall (with proceeds going to our Scholarship Fund).

Due to the tremendous success of this year’s Featured Winery Program, we plan to present this new program again next year and add more guest wineries to our lineup, elevating The Courtyard experience for everyone.

If any member has a favorite winery you would like to see participate in our Featured Winery Program next year, please have them contact Lloyd and Liz Corbett at or

– Liz Corbett, Director