Members Corner

Is Wine and Cheese Good for an Aging Brain?

It appears a scientific study conducted
by Iowa State University and
published recently by Science Daily,
confirmed that what we eat may
have a direct impact on our cognitive
acuity in our later years. The
study’s findings show that cheese protects against age-related
cognitive problems, while consumption of red wine relates to
improvements in cognitive function.
We knew that! In fact, in some of our personal experience and
in the experience of all those who attended Dawn Iglesias’
Wine & Cheese Pairings Seminar last month, we can confirm
this— when pairing a glass of red wine with cheese, needless
to say, our cognitive acuity was off the charts.
We can all agree that we have had a lot of science thrown at
us recently, i.e., the pandemic and climate change, so without
further ado, we draw your attention to the article below.
Dawn’s seminar was so well received and attended that we
thought we would publish the contents from a few presentation
slides. A recording of Dawn’s seminar is also uploaded on the
OCWS website under the Webinar tab.

“Cheese is a living thing; it needs oxygen to breathe”

The Cheese & Wine Pairings Webinar which was held last month on December 13 is one of my favorite events to host, both in
person at the OC Fair Courtyard and on a virtual platform. Find below interesting tips and pairings to reference.

Cheese & Storage Tips:
• Cheese should always be served at room temperature for the best flavor.
• In general, red wines pair better with hard, stronger cheeses. White wines and sparklings with softer, creamier cheeses, but
not necessarily all of the time.
• It is always a good idea to pair a wine and cheese from the same region or origin (French cheese with a French wine, No. CA
cheese with a No. CA wine, etc.).
• Light cheeses go with light wines, heavier cheeses go with bold wines.
• Cheese should be stored in a crisper drawer that has temperature control & consistent humidity.
• If cheese is in a plastic wrap, it needs to be removed as soon as possible, and either put in another container, wrapped in
parchment paper, or in a Ziploc bag.
• Soft cheeses will last up to 2 to 3 weeks. Store soft cheeses in a long, rectangle sealed plastic/glass container. You can store
your goat, brie, and soft cheeses together.
• Hard cheeses will last up to 4 months (example: Parmesan) in a partially open Ziploc bag, to allow the cheese to breath.
• Blue cheese can affect other cheeses. Store this cheese separately, either in a container or Ziploc bag.

Dawn Iglesias, Seminar Committee Member

The Pairings:

Chardonnay &
Blanc de Blanc Champagnes:

• Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog goat
• Saint Angel Triple Cream
• Marin French Camembert or Brie
• Langre Fromage
• Brillat Savarin
• Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper
• Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam
Sauvignon Blanc:
• Chavroux spreadable goat cheese
• Ewenique sheep cheese
• Ewephoria sheep cheese
• Cablanca Goat Gouda
• Maytag Blue cheese
• Point Reyes Bay Blue
• Piave
Pinot Noir &
Blanc de Noir Champagnes:

• Saint Andre’ Triple Cream Brie
• Marin French Petite Breakfast Brie
• Vella Dry Jack
• Beecher’s Flagship Handmade
• Point Reyes Toma
• Tillamook White Cheddar
• Cambazola (brie & blue cheese)
• Cypress Grove Purple Haze
• BelGioioso Fontina
• The Drunken Goat
• Havarti with Dill
• Old Amsterdam Gouda
• Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar
• Blu di Bufala (buffalo milk)
• Le Gruyere Switzerland
• 12 Month Aged Manchego
• Winey Goat
• Beehive Barely Buzzed
• Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar
• Collier’s Welsh Cheddar
• Gorgonzola
Cabernet Sauvignon:
• Istara P’Tit Basque
• Isigny St. Mếre Mimolette
• Coastal British Cheddar
• Fiscalini Smoked Cheddar
• Castello Danish Blue
• Kerrygold Cashel Blue
• Saint Agur Blue

OCWS Volunteer Opportunities

The Orange County Wine Society has always been an organization with countless volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Despite the cancellation of many of our events due to the pandemic, we are moving forward with the planning for 2021 activities. We invite all OCWS members to consider volunteering for one or more of the organization’s committees. […]
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Do You Want to Write About It?

Wine itself is obvious. It represents so many things—contents of the bottle reach out to a time, to a place, to people, to food and to hospitality. To be engaged with this special life force, to connect through our senses and know others connect with it in the same way, is a reason why we all like wine! What are your thoughts on the matter?

Greek poet, Homer, said it best, “it is the wine that leads me on, the wild wine that sets the wisest man to sing at the top of his lungs, laugh like a fool—it drives the man to dancing…it even tempts him to blurt out stories better never told.” Contrary to Homer, The Wine Press wants you to share your story, your experience, that moment in time when your travels have taken you across the California wine regions to a new discovery.

There is a very good chance that most of us have heard of or visited the most well-known wine regions of California, or the world for that matter—Napa and Sonoma. Have you reached beyond the hub of California wine tourism and escaped into and experienced other wine regions? Talk about it, put pen to paper and share it.

The Wine Press would like to publish your story, even if it’s just a one time contribution. The decision is yours. Topics should be California-inclusive. A few suggestions you might like to think about:

· Hidden gems of California’s lesser known wine regions

· An area that captured your attention with its natural beauty, or a town stuck in time

· Incredible California wineries that have been producing some of the best wine for decades

· A unique wine event

· A varietal that literally took your breath away

· A relationship that began as a wine match

There are endless possibilities of what you can write about.

Contact me at to get the conversation started!

– Linda Mihalik, Editor

A little Wine Trivia:

Keep an Eye on Those Bubbles. Bubbles in wine have been observed since ancient Greece and were superstitiously attributed to evil spirits or the phases of the moon!

President’s Message

Thank you to all of our Orange County Wine Society members who sent in their electronic votes for the Board of Directors this past month. The new electronic election was flawless, and I want to congratulate both Carolyn Christian and Fred Heinecke as they join me in our 2020-2021 Board term. I am honored to say that I have been elected as the President of the Board of Directors for the upcoming year. 

We have all been disappointed these past months, as our entire lives have been disrupted by the ongoing lockdown, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The OCWS has been impacted, along with all other organizations, and our in-person activities have been severely impacted. We have not had a social event since March, and our two wine competitions, along with the entire OC Fair and our Wine Courtyard, were cancelled this year. 

Many thanks to our creative staff, who have formatted several “virtual” wine events using Zoom in lieu of in-person events. Appreciation and recognition also goes out to our  creative staff and presenters for pulling off both educational and entertaining seminars.

Every organization is a collection of assets, minus liabilities, which gives us our net worth. With the Orange County Wine Society, we don’t look at our net worth in just financial terms.

From our Board of Directors, our greatest asset is you, our members! Without you, we would devolve to a small core of people conducting boring activities, and we would quickly fall apart. The Board is working on minimizing our outflow of funds, but our biggest objective is to keep you all involved, and to keep you all signed up as active members. We hope you will all continue to work with us as we navigate our way through these challenging times.

In the near future, you can look forward to more entertaining virtual events, and I hope you all will sign-up and participate with a glass of wine in your hand and a smile on your face!

Needless to say, we all look forward to a time when we can resume our lives, and we can all meet again in person at our events.

 Kevin Donnelly, President

“As Long as We Make it With Love”

I had the honor and distinct pleasure to interview the brave and dynamic team of Roger and Janice Mattar and Doris and John Severs, winemakers and owners of Big Nose Family Winery who, this month, will be presenting their wines to the OCWS membership via our Virtual Winery Program.

I call them brave, as they took the leap from being OCWS Winemakers’ Group amateur winemakers to commercial winemakers, and I call them dynamic in that their commercial debut entries in 2019 to the OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition garnered the highest awards, that of Double Gold, for both wines entered, not a small feat by any standards.

Upon the start of the interview, it was clear to me that the heartfelt emotion emanating from Big Nose’s four principals in tandem and their personal relationships with each other are why they were a major hit right out of the gate. “You should do whatever you’re passionate about and wherever your heart takes you, as long as you do it with love” and “You need good grapes to make good quality wine,” they said. Clearly a winning combination for them and for those who have had the pleasure of tasting their wines.

When asked how they got involved in making wine, they relayed a story about a trip to Napa in 2011, meeting a home winemaker and, as they said “after quite a bit of drinking great wines,” thought, “why not try it?” Roger, Big Nose’s primary winemaker, upon return home to Orange County and some research, discovered the Orange County Wine Society and a passion was born. They had never made wine before joining the OCWS and being mentored by long-time home winemakers.

Now only two years in commercial business, and as with many other winemakers, this quartet is still working paying jobs (often more than one at a time), to sustain Big Nose, with hopes Big Nose will sustain them in the future, while fulfilling their dreams. Sadly, they, like so many others, have been impacted by COVID-19. They said that, with hopes of moving “toward a tasting room and the whole nine yards, COVID-19 back peddled us. We had to stop knocking on doors, doing small events, and gathering our wine club members together for fun times, which we love. We’ve had to adapt and work in the atmosphere and society we’re in right now.”

With a number of wine varietals currently in their repertoire, they are moving forward with love, laughter and the strong conviction to continue making quality wines and the necessity for their wines to be “free from defects, well balanced, and enjoyable to drink and share with others.” 

To learn more about Big Nose Family Winery and their amazing ownership team, check out their video interview with Sara Yeoman, OCWS Vice President, on the OCWS Facebook and Twitter pages. Don’t forget to reserve a space for the OCWS Virtual Winery Program on November 20 featuring Big Nose Family Winery.

– Fran Gitsham, Contributing Writer

40 Years of OCWS Scholarships

Our members have been pleased to learn about the scholarship colleges and universities the OCWS has supported since 1981, beginning with two colleges. Benefits of OCWS membership include the enjoyment of knowing about our contributions to the students in the educational world of campus agriculture, business and research, and their appreciation of our generosity. This […]
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In Recognition and Appreciation of the OCWS Volunteers

While our most volunteer-intensive events weren’t held this year, there were still a number of members who put in significant time helping plan and run the events that we did have. As the organization has only part-time employees, it relies on our volunteers for everything from guiding and managing our organization to planning and running our events. Most volunteer work is done “behind the scenes” and unnoticed by many.

In recognition of the hours of service, the Wine Society rewards its volunteers with gift certificates redeemable for admission to OCWS events.

Thank you to the following volunteers for their efforts during the 2019-2020 Board year. Our volunteers make this the successful organization that it is. We encourage you to get involved. It is a great way to see how the OCWS works and meet new friends. NOTE: The volunteer coupons will be posted to each member’s account by the end of September, and can be used for events through the end of September 2021. The Board has also agreed to extend the expiration of unused volunteer coupons from 2018-2019 so they will be useable for events through the end of September 2021.

– George Cravens, Volunteer Recognition Chair

Award Coupon Recipients
$50 Discount
$25 Discount Coupon$10 Discount Coupon
Leslie Brown
Chris & Hank Bruce
Carolyn Christian
Liz & Lloyd Corbett
Kevin Coy
Kevin Donnelly
Bill Forsch
Fran Gitsham
Terry McLean
Betty Jo & Jay Newell
Karyl Newton
Bruce & Jeannine Powers
Rochelle Randel
Ed Reyes
Germaine & Rob Romano
Peter Schlundt Bodien
Stacey Taylor
Barb & Dave White
Lynda Edwards
Carol Esslinger
Jane Goodnight
Larry Graham
Greg Hagadorn
Dawn Iglesias
Virginia Kawai
Jim Kerins
Linda McLean
Irene Scott
Dave & Tami Stancil
Richard Ward
Dave Wiegand

Damian Christian
Michael Del Medico
Jerry Guerin
Shelly Jayne
Karl Kawai
Ken Knapp
John Lane
Kevin Lite
Sam Puzzo
Dana Rutledge
Bob Topham
$50 Discount Coupon
Leslie Brown
Chris & Hank Bruce
Carolyn Christian
Liz & Lloyd Corbett
Kevin Coy
Kevin Donnelly
Bill Forsch
Fran Gitsham
Terry McLean
Betty Jo & Jay Newell
Karyl Newton
Bruce & Jeannine Powers
Rochelle Randel
Ed Reyes
Germaine & Rob Romano
Peter Schlundt Bodien
Stacey Taylor
Barb & Dave White

President’s Message

It is my sincere hope that everyone is staying safe, staying busy, and drinking great wines!

I am pleased to report that at the August BOD meeting, it was unanimously approved to extend all memberships an additional four months. 

In last month’s issue of The Wine Press, I highlighted some of our virtual seminar offerings. We hope you have enjoyed the offerings during July and August which have been produced by our members: Ed Reyes, Carolyn Christian, Ken Knapp, Sara Yeoman, and Kevin Donnelly. Thank you all for such an outstanding job!

If you missed attending a virtual seminar, they have been uploaded on our website, and you can locate them after signing in and clicking Zoom Seminars. Simply locate the seminar you missed, click on the name of the seminar, and watch the ones you missed . . . or watch them again!

The OCWS Winery Program is also making plans to conduct programs virtually. On September 20, we will be featuring ZD Wines. More details are provided in this month’s newsletter. Thanks to Rich Skoczylas and Leslie Hodowanec for your efforts. 

I am very pleased to see that as I am writing this article we have five members who have submitted their intent to run for the Board of Directors. You can find their candidate statements on our website.

The candidates will also be providing a brief statement at the “Annual Business Meeting” as required per Article 6 of our By-laws. The 2020 Annual Business Meeting will be held on Friday, September 11. Due to gathering restrictions currently in place, the meeting will be held “virtually.” The announcement for signups for this meeting was sent out via email and posted on the website. As a reminder, for those with a dual membership only one individual needs to sign up to attend this meeting. 

According to our By-laws, the Board of Director election must be held three weeks from the Annual Business Meeting. This year, we will be conducting the election electronically. A ballot will be sent out to members after the September 11 meeting.

Please be sure to update your email address to a current and valid email address using the edit profile feature on the OCWS website. More information on the electronic voting process and what you can expect can be found under the Electronic Voting article contained in this newsletter.


 Bill Redding, President

2020 OCWS Virtual Annual Business Meeting

As we have anticipated to be the case, the 2020 OCWS Annual Business Meeting will take place in a virtual Zoom platform this year. The Annual Business Meeting will take place on Friday, September 11, beginning promptly at 7 pm and lasting approximately one hour. There is no limitation on the number of members who may attend; however, the meeting is strictly for members only. Sign-up for the Annual Business Meeting will be available through the OCWS website or by “email invitation” utilizing Constant Contact. To accommodate all OCWS members, please remember sign-ups should be limited to a single household.

This is the most important member meeting of the OCWS year. The Agenda will offer an overview of the year’s activities, the financial summary of the 2019/2020 Board year, and looking ahead in these unprecedented times.

Speakers scheduled to present will be: Bill Redding, President; Mel Jay, Treasurer; Charles English, OCWS Accountant; Kevin Donnelly, Winemakers’ Group Chair; and Greg Hagadorn, 2020 Election Chair.

After the presentation, Greg will introduce the individuals who have declared their Board candidacy. Each candidate will have a brief opportunity to introduce themselves and present their interests and objectives for the next Board term – 2020-2023.

Member attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions through the “chat” option on the Zoom platform. At the end of the presentation, all member questions will be directed to the presenters to read and answer.

The 2019/2020 OCWS Board of Directors look forward to seeing you as we review our 44th year and look forward to the 2020/2021 calendar year.

The meeting is conducted in accordance with OCWS Bylaws and government regulations for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.

– Bill Redding, President