Members Corner

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

The Good, the Bad & The Wine Tasting Room

Visiting a tasting room is an excellent way to experience the diverse selection of a winery’s wines in a relaxed, fun, and social environment—albeit a foreign territory for those of us who live outside of wine country.

Insiders have shared some “do’s” and “don’ts:

  • Do try a wine you don’t think you might like – this is what tastings are for
  • Do refrain from openly criticizing wines; wine tasting is subjective (to a degree)
  • Do ask for seconds if you are seriously considering buying the wine
  • Do moderate your intake – spit if you are visiting quite a few tasting rooms
  • Don’t wear perfume or cologne – 80% of our sense of taste is experienced through our noses; be considerate with wearing as little scent as possible
  • Don’t ask for “in the industry” discounts
  • Don’t ask for the “good stuff” – it implies you are not being served any good wines; do inquire about reserve wines or library wines
  • Don’t haggle on the price; it’s not a car dealership

The Orange County Wine Society supports all California winemakers and principals. Each year during the OC Fair, we proudly introduce award-wining wines as well as feature all wines from the Commercial Wine Competition for tasting by the general public at The Courtyard.

Membership in the OCWS does not include representing oneself as “industry” or an “industry winemaker.” The OCWS is a non-profit brand and we have established trust with many external audiences in the wine industry. We have a clear mission and vision and are strategic in our marketing and branding initiatives. Every member visiting a California winery should introduce themselves as an Orange County Wine Society member—be a proud marketer for the OCWS.

– The OCWS Board of Directors

Featured Member: Bruce Powers

Many of us know Bruce as a key member of the Winemakers’ Group. But there is much more to know about Bruce.

The story starts more than 40 years ago. Bruce and his friend were out for a joy ride on his friend’s motorcycle. They came upon a girl in a Camaro, and to impress her, they popped a wheelie. Bruce fell off the back and she nearly ran him over. After she picked him up off the road, they got to chatting and she drove him home. A year later they were dating . . . she nearly killed him when they first met, now Bruce and Jeanine have been happily married for 39 years!

As a boy in Seal Beach, Bruce dreamed about cars and car racing. When he was older, he began working on cars, particularly Porsches, with local car mechanics. In the 1970s, Bruce raced in Sports Car Club of America events as well as Off-Road events.

While earning his engineering degree, he became an ASE Certified Master Technician. After graduating into a very tight economy and newly married, Bruce decided to open his own auto service business in Huntington Beach, Autowerkes. Jeanine handled the books. Autowerkes specializes in Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes. Attention to detail in auto repair and providing outstanding customer service have helped him grow his business with customers coming from all over Orange County. Bruce also helps run Autocross events and sponsors a Porsche Boxter in competitions.

Always athletic, Bruce has run over 30 marathons. Many family vacations were scheduled around key marathons. Bruce recently ran a 10K with the older of their two daughters – she won, we hear. Bruce’s athletic talents extend into coaching volleyball, as his two daughters played. He developed and published a primer on how to coach students entitled “Blueprint of a Champion” which is still available online.

Those who visit Bruce and Jeanine in their lovely Spanish style home are welcomed by a menagerie. There are currently three horses, including Genevieve who is blind, two ducks named Donald and Melania, three dogs, a cat, and most famously, Marcel the Donkey, who has been featured on their wine labels.

As a winemaker, Bruce has made several varietals over the years, most notably, Sangiovese (which he has planted at his home in Orange Park Acres), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, several Rosé wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and even champagne. He has received several Double Gold, Gold and Silver awards at the Home Wine Competition.

For the past 2 to 3 years, Bruce has also been the chief liaison for the Winemakers’ Group in sourcing grapes and juice from Chris van Alyea and has made several trips, along with Dave Wiegand, to Solterra Winery for pickup and delivery to Orange County.

Bruce also conducted a workshop for making Rosé wine to the Winemakers’ Group and during this year’s crush gave a handson demonstration of how to press off the juice before fermenting.

It is Bruce’s focus on service, assistance, and education that we are celebrating and featuring in this edition of The Wine Press. It is members like Bruce that make the OCWS a very special group of people!