Home Wine Competition

Huge Success at 47th OC Fair Home Wine Competition

We are proud to report that the annual OC Fair Home Wine Competition was held June 10, celebrating our 47th year as the longest-running amateur wine competition in California. The competition, which is open to all California residents, is co-sponsored by the Orange County Wine Society and the OC Fair. We judged wines from 163 winemakers from all parts of California who entered a total of 599 wines. From those wines, judges awarded 68 Double Gold, 95 Gold, 177 Silver and 129 Bronze medals. Our Best of Show winners included:

Red Wine: Don and Pam Brennan from Chino — 2021 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petite Syrah Blend

White Wine: Brad Bunkelman from Santa Maria – 2019 100% Torrontes GRE from Allan Hancock College Vineyards

Fruit Wine: Robert Joakimson from Concord — 2023 Black Raspberry Wine

Dessert Wine: Carmen Babcock from La Mesa – 2022 Black Forest Style Wine

Label Winner: Lora and Jeffrey Sanders from Temecula – 2020 Sangiovese

This year there were a total of 83 judges with several coming from Northern California and 87 volunteers who supported the event. A special thanks to the 14 people from our Cooks’ Caucus, who provided two AWESOME hot meals for breakfast and lunch! Thank you to all who gave up several days, and in some cases, weeks of preparation for this one-day event.

Our 2023 Home Wine Competition Committee includes Kevin Donnelly – Competition Chair, John Lane – Judging Chair, Ed Reyes and Cheryl Knapp – Volunteer Coordinators, Stacey Taylor – Wine Administration and Competition Database Developer, Jerry Guerin – Judge Seminar Instructor, Kim Guerin – Scoring Chair, Wendy Taylor – Label Competition, Carolyn Christian – Marketing, Lynda Edwards and Sally Toth – Award Mailing, and Fran Gitsham – OCFEC Liaison.

A big THANK YOU to all who contributed this year, and I hope to see you all again at the 2024 OC Fair Home Wine Competition!

A complete list of award winners and competition photos may be found on our website at hwcr.ocws.org.

Kevin Donnelly, OCWS Director and Home Wine Competition Chair

Eight Medals Awarded to Allan Hancock College Winery

As the Scholarship Program Chair, I personally reached out to five of our viticulture and enology colleges and universities to encourage them to enter the 2021 Commercial Wine Competition.

Sadly, some replies were “maybe next year” due to recent pandemic and wildfire restrictions on campus. There has been excellent research, however, the revenue generated for wine and grape sales barely covered campus operational costs.

We were delighted that Allan Hancock College entered the Competition this year and congratulate them on their winning wines and contemporary label design.

This is the 100th Anniversary of Allan Hancock College, and they have entered wines in the Competition since 2016 and have been consistent medal winners. This year they were awarded seven wine medals, all 2019 vintages. Some were produced from vineyards in Paso Robles and Santa Ynez Valley, and some from their own on-campus vineyard in Santa Maria. Please visit their website at hancockcollege.edu/winery, (try their Centennial Blanc de Noirs).

The judges awarded Allen Hancock College two Gold Medals for their Chardonnay and Torrontes, and five Silver Medals for Albarino, Grenache, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. Another Gold Medal was awarded in the Contemporary Design category during our Label Competition, which took place during the event.

While serving Allan Hancock College wines during the OC Fair, please remind our guests how especially proud the OCWS is to support the college and university scholarship programs and all the students who rose to the challenges.

– Leslie Hodowanec, Director & Scholarship Chair