Members Corner

An Event to Remember: 2019 Fall BBQ & Chili Cook Off Recap

The OCWS Chili Cook Off & BBQ was held on September 21 at The Courtyard under clear skies and comfortable fall temperatures. It was a sold out event with 28 teams competing in the Chili Cook Off and over 200 members and guests attending.  Everyone enjoyed the 28 amazing and unique homemade chilis, grilled foods prepared by the Cooks Caucus, and the wonderful music provided by the Three 2 Sevens band.

I would like to thank the 28 teams that entered the Chili competition for all their hard work, creative decorations, and amazing chili . . . simply chili-licious! Listed below are the competition winners by category and name of chili:

  • Best Traditional Chili with beans—Rick & Linda Kerfott—“Rodrigo Cowboy Chili”
  • Best Traditional Chili without beans—Diane Froot & Rebecca Frazier—“Un Named”
  • Best Vegetarian Chili—Amiee & Steve Halligan—“Chewie’s 3 Chile Chili”
  • Best Chili Using Wine—Jane Goodnight & Gail Hirstein—“Winerful Chili”
  • Best Chili by a New Member—Ed & Linda Robb—“Ed’s Dragon Breath Chili”
  • Best Table Presentation—Dean & Robyn Strom—“Kettle Chili”
  • People’s Choice—Diane Froot & Rebecca Frazier—“Un Named”

I would like to especially thank the six students from the Orange Coast College Culinary Art Academy who agreed to be judges for the competition and helped make it such a success.

Of course, none of our events could take place without the hard work and support of our members who volunteered to help plan, coordinate the many details, and work the day of the event. To all of them who helped “make it happen,” a very sincere and heartfelt thank you!

– Terry McLean, Event Chair

In Memoriam: Richard Veague

It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Rich Veague, OCWS long-time member and home winemaker. Sadly, Rich passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on August 31 at the age of 78. Rich joined the OCWS in the early ‘90s and started Dark Side Winery with his partner, Bryan Skelly, in 2000. Together they consistently won medals in the OCWS Home Wine Competition, including Gold Medal and Double-Gold Medal designations in this year’s competition. Rich also served as a judge and Best of Show judge for many years in the OCWS Home Wine Competition.

Rich served in the Army at White Sands Missile Range in the early ‘60s before being stationed on the DMZ in South Korea. He had a very successful career in high tech that culminated with his retirement from Intel in 2002. He loved beach volleyball, cross-country skiing, golf, camping and hiking, music and attending Burning Man Festivals and UFO conferences. Rich is survived by his wife, Virginia, his brother and sister, and countless friends from around the world.

Rich’s special gift was that he made friends easily, using a self-deprecating and somewhat dry humor that will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Bryan Skelly

Who to Contact

All OCWS events and activities outlined in The Wine Press specify how to participate and sign up for an event. Unless otherwise noted, please refrain from contacting the article editor directly.

General inquiries can be obtained by phoning the OCWS office at 714.708.1636 or by email to Office@ocws.org. Lynda Edwards (photo above) or Rochelle Randel, our office Administrators, can help you with any question you have or they will know who to contact to take care of you most efficiently.  For more detailed Wine Society information, log in to OCWS.org. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

A Record Breaking Year at the 2019 Courtyard

The 2019 OC Fair, now just a fading memory, is still very fresh in the minds and hearts of the 330 OCWS volunteers whose dedication and enthusiasm made this year’s Courtyard the most successful in OCWS history! With over 1,500 shifts worked at The Courtyard this year, and thousands of hours spent behind the scenes before and after the Fair, records were smashed from previous years. The Courtyard grossed the largest revenue in OCWS history.

As a partner to the OC Fair & Event Center, we run both the Commercial and Home Wine Competitions. In return, we are given the opportunity to run The Courtyard during the OC Fair, with derived income paying for both competitions and covering OCWS overhead for the following year.  Generous donations from the general public are contributed directly to the OCWS Scholarship Fund.

The success of The Courtyard is due, in no small part, to The Courtyard Committee, the cash verifiers behind the scenes, the seminar presenters, the set up and tear down crews and the Featured Winery program, along with too many other positions and programs to name, and all the OCWS volunteers who manned or maintained The Courtyard in any number of capacities.

It took every one of our volunteers, no matter how great or small the task, to make The Courtyard a success and provide the OCWS with a fabulous financial foundation going into next year.

Thank you to each every one of you who volunteered!

– Fran Gitsham & The 2019 Courtyard Committee

In Memoriam: Robert Trout

It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of one of the OCWS’s long-time members, Robert Trout, who passed away on the evening of June 26, 2019 at age 88. Bob was many things for the OCWS: a Board Member, President, recipient of the President’s Award, and Commercial Wine Competition Committee member for many years, along with his wife, Marjorie. The Trouts helped develop the Label Competition, and Bob served as Assistant Chairman of Judges under Dennis Esslinger. Ultimately, due to his tremendous dedication and service, he was awarded the designation of President Emeritus. In recent years, many of us knew Bob to be an exceptional opener of the cans of olives to be served to the Commercial Wine Competition judges.

Bob came to the OCWS in what seemed like “eons” ago as a home winemaker. After learning on his own, as many of us have, it also took guidance to make good home wines. The OCWS gave him that guidance which began the road to the many years Bob and Marjorie had with the OCWS.

Bob used his design skills as a Professor of Industrial Technology at California State University at Long Beach to develop and create a special award featuring a very large actual grapevine for our Zinfandel Competition during the 25th Anniversary Commercial Competition. Bob was highly respected by our judges due to his many years with the OCWS and his time working with the judges during the Commercial Wine Competition, including obtaining wines for the Judges Dinner.

An avid bicycle rider, Bob travelled the length of California stopping in many wine regions. Those who knew him well will miss his subtle sense of humor, his friendship, intellect, and love of fine wines which he was always willing to share with people he met along the way.

For Marjorie, his daughter Shannon and her husband, and his grandchildren, he will never truly be gone.

– The OCWS Board of Directors

President’s Message

The OC Fair opened on Friday, July 12 and continues through Sunday, August 11. If you have not had an opportunity to get in on the “Acres of Fun” theme at the OC Fair, it is not too late. I encourage you to stop by The Courtyard and have a great time tasting the award-winning […]
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OCWS Board of Directors: Call for Candidates

It’s the most wonderful time of the Year!  Well not that time but time to think about running for the OCWS Board of Directors.

Have you thought about getting more involved with the OCWS outside of volunteering for or attending various OCWS‑related events? 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.

The overall time commitment for a member of the Board varies, based on assignments and participation. We are moving from having the Board manage some events to having our members run the event with a Board coordinator being the liaison to the Board regarding budgets, event timing and placement.

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
  • 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 23, 2019.

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. I can be reached at 714.388.8803 or at Greg@ocws.org.

– Greg Hagadorn, 2019 Election Chair

Graber Olive House, a Longtime, Valued 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 and Home Wine Competitions 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 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 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 nutlike 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, olive oils and elegant gift baskets. 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,
Ontario, CA 91764.

Home Wine Competition Volunteers Needed

Calling all volunteers! The 2019 Home Wine Competition will be held on June 15th in the OC Fair Courtyard, and volunteers are needed to ensure our success!

We need your help to make this year’s OC Fair/OCWS Home Wine Competition successful. We need over 100 volunteers to run this event on Saturday, June 15 from 7:30 am to about 1:00 pm (or later if you stay to taste the wines). Winemakers and non-winemakers are invited to volunteer before the general membership so you can get the position you want.

To sign up, please go to the ocws.org website and click on Competitions, then Home Wine, and fill out the form.

You will get two great meals made by the Cooks’ Caucus and get to taste all the great wines after judging is complete.

In addition, there will be a “thank you” party for all volunteers and persons that submitted wines to be held at The Courtyard on Sunday, June 16 with food and all the gold and double gold wines to taste!

Jim Downey,
Volunteer Coordinator

Commercial Competition Volunteers

We have had great enthusiasm for signing up this year, and we would like to extend a Thank You to all our volunteers for your support!

As of this writing, we are still behind about 10 steward positions for Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and June 2. If you are able to help, please sign up as soon as possible. Also, please check the OCWS website for any remaining positions that are open.

We will be sending out confirmation of activities during the third week of May 2019. Please look out for emails from Ken@ocws.org. If you are unable to fulfill your volunteer assignment, please contact us directly at Ken@ocws.org or Irene@ocws.org as soon as possible. We are excited to see you at the Competition!

– Ken & Irene Scott,
Volunteer Coordinators