President’s Message

President’s Message

January has sure started off with a “bang,” and not just with New Year’s fireworks! We have a new United States President, and time will tell how this will all play out over the next months and years.

During the past 10 months, the Wine Society has been paying a lot of ongoing expenses, which has tapped into our financial reserves. We understand that since we have not had in-person activities, members have not had the usual events that our membership offers. Last March, the Board of Directors chose to suspend membership renewal fees starting April 1, 2020, and as a result, we have retained all of our members. The Board has now decided that after 12 months, we will resume requesting renewal fees starting April 1, 2021. If your renewal was April 1, 2020, we will request you renew on April 1, 2021. If your renewal was June 1, 2020, we will request you renew on June 1, 2021. 

The Wine Society continues to have our social events virtually since we are still under pandemic restrictions. We know that several of our OCWS members have contracted COVID-19, and we wish them all fast and complete recoveries.

We have several Sunday sessions planned, which are always entertaining and well attended. In January, we added new events, our “Varietal Hours,” which are conducted as Zoom meetings (as opposed to Zoom webinars), allow us to see everyone on the screen. Our first two Varietal Hours were on January 11 and January 18 and were well received by everyone. We can all use more social interaction in these trying times, and we hope to see a lot more of you in the coming weeks! 

We are still making preparations to conduct our Commercial Wine Competition and Home Wine Competition in June, pending opening up our environments as we approach these events. The Orange County Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) is making their plans for the 2021 OC Fair, and we plan to be fully involved, so keep the dates open. I will keep you informed as we hear more information from the State and the OCFEC for any updates to the situation.

The vaccinations for COVID-19 are now available for many people, with more of us becoming eligible every week. We hope that as more and more people get vaccinated, the OCFEC and the whole world will start opening up, and we can begin to resume our OCWS activities. 

In the meantime, I hope everyone stays healthy and safe in these trying times.   

 Kevin Donnelly, President

President’s Message

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year, as we all look forward to an ending to these pandemic lockdowns that we have all endured. This past year has certainly been one to remember, and we have all been saddened by the lack of social interaction with our friends and families, and get-togethers with our Orange County Wine Society family.

The year 2021 will bring us new concerns and yet plenty of hope. The U.S. Electors have voted for Joe Biden to be our new President on January 20, 2021. The long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine is now rolling out, which will be the beginning of the end of the “pandemic year from …” (you know what I mean).  Hopefully our social lives will slowly return to normal, but we probably won’t get all the way there in 2021.

Over the next few months, the OCWS Board is looking at starting up more modified activities, all dependent on State, local and OCFEC guidelines. I will keep you updated when we can start to schedule in-person events.

The OCFEC is still unsure of what the 2021 OC Fair will look like. From their recent articles published in newspapers, they are looking at an option of doing an 18-day OC Fair, limited to just 30,000 visitors per day to allow for social distancing. Their decisions directly affect the OCWS, and we are following their projections as we make plans for our 2021 wine competitions and the Courtyard during the OC Fair.

The news reports project that the COVID-19 vaccine will be readily available this coming summer. We hope that as more and more people get inoculated, we may look forward to the OCFEC opening the Fairgrounds to events next autumn or winter so we can start resuming our on-site activities. Time will tell, and in this case, we hope those times come quickly. 

Stay healthy everyone, and I look forward to “seeing” you all on our virtual seminars!   

 Kevin Donnelly, President

President’s Message

Welcome everyone to the last month of what has been the most “interesting” year of our lives. As of this writing, it appears we will have a new U.S. President next month, which is either causing us jubilation or angst, but either way we are all wondering what will come next. Our uncertainty about the […]
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President’s Message

Thanks to all of our members who joined the virtual Annual Business Meeting on Friday, September 11. Highlights of the year’s past events and the financial health of the organization were reviewed. A recording of this meeting will be available on the OCWS website to those of you who missed the live meeting. Special thanks to all of our presenters for helping to pull off this event. The highlight of the evening was the recognition of our volunteers who this past year contributed over 1,034 hours of volunteer time in support of the OCWS up through March when COVID-19 restrictions were implemented. Please see George Craven’s article in this edition for the details of those recognized.

This year, it was my honor and privilege to present the President’s Award to Kevin Coy for his many years of outstanding dedication and service to the OCWS as a Director, President, Cellar Master, and Director of Judges for the Commercial Wine Competition. Pictured is Kevin holding his award. Congratulations, Kevin!

At the September BOD meeting, Jim Beard, was recognized with the President Emeritus Award. This award is presented by the President with Board recommendation, as a special designation to acknowledge the dedication, time, and effort given to the OCWS by those who served as OCWS President, and who have continued to volunteer after their term of office has concluded. Congratulations, Jim!

This year’s BOD election has brought forth a great turnout of candidates. In addition to our first “virtual” Annual Business Meeting, we are conducting the election electronically this year. Thanks to Greg Hagadorn and the Election Committee for pulling this off. Please stay tuned to for information on the election results. Unfortunately, the Annual Installation Dinner is cancelled. I would like to thank outgoing Directors Brian McDonald for his dedicated service over the past six years, and Ken Scott for his expertise over the past three years. This will also conclude my six years of service on the Board.

As the outgoing President, I wish to thank all of my past fellow Board members for their service. A special thanks goes to my wife, Carolyn, whose encouragement and delightful sense of humor has supported me over the years and who introduced us to the OCWS over 19 years ago—it has been quite a journey!  Cheers,

 Bill Redding, President

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

President’s Message

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

Since our last issue of The Wine Press, a lot of seminars for our members have been developed, scheduled, and taken place. We hope you have enjoyed the offerings during July which have been produced by our members: Ed Reyes, Carolyn Christian, Ken Knapp, Sara Yeoman, and Kevin Donnelly. If you missed our July lineup, do not miss the remaining seminars scheduled for August. Sign-ups are done online through a Zoom link found in the weekly email sent on Monday/Friday mornings or through corresponding links incorporated on our OCWS website’s Zoom Seminars page. Since these are member-only events, you must log in to see this page on our website. The OCWS Winery Program is also making plans to conduct their programs virtually this Fall. More details are provided in related articles in this month’s newsletter.

The OCWS has also partnered with the Orange County Fair & Event Center to participate in a Virtual Fair which will be held during the originally scheduled Fair dates of July 17 through August 16. We have posted two virtual offerings on Fair Food & Wine and Summer Go-To Wines. The Virtual Fair can be found at

Summer has always been a busy time for the OCWS each year. Importantly, it is the time when new Board of Directors are needed as directors’ terms expire. Please consider submitting your candidacy now. I can promise you it is a rewarding experience in which you will get to know our members and get an opportunity to contribute to our future success. Each summer, we also have our “Annual Business Meeting” as required pursuant to Article 6 of our By-laws. The 2020 meeting will be held on Friday, September 11. Due to restrictions currently in place, the meeting will be held “virtually.” The announcement for sign-ups to this meeting will be sent out via email and posted on the website in early August.


 Bill Redding, President

President’s Message

Greetings on behalf of the Board of Directors and staff. We are in strange times during which we are postponing or deleting events from the calendar. For many of us, the months of June, July and August are normally filled with OCWS activities.

The Winemakers’ Group is purchasing supplies and working on some virtual seminars. With all of this extra time many of you may want to try making wine. Please see Kevin Donnelly’s article in this month’s newsletter.

During the month of May, the BOD has attempted to make contact by phone or email with our members. Of my own personal contacts, it seems that our members are safe and staying busy. Doing puzzles, reading, cooking, gardening, painting, virtual seminars and getting to projects that are long overdue are popular activities.

I am sure everyone has been trying to stay busy at home. I have actually found the time to review some old Wine Spectator issues and organized my office bookshelf. To my surprise, I have found several of my wine-related books that I have been looking for, and they are now keeping each other company. A few favorites that are in my collection: The Juice by Jay McInerney, Judgment of Paris by George M. Taber, Perfect Pairings by Evan Goldstein and Wine Folly by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack. All great reference books and of course the great story by Taber which formed the basis for the movie Bottle Shock. No doubt you have your own wine books and magazines to get re-acquainted with. If you are just looking for reading with a wine themed author, Ellen Crosby offers entertainment with her 10-book Wine Country Mystery series. Our Wine Press Editor and Board member, Linda Mihalik, also has a book and film title summarily related to a wine theme in this issue in her “In Case You Missed It” article plus some ideas to stay active at home.

The OCFEC is working on plans to hold virtual activities during the five week Fair run this year. The OCWS has been invited to work with them to provide several virtual events. Cheers,

Bill Redding, President

President’s Message

As we all struggle during these difficult times to maintain a sense of normalcy, it is difficult to know what to say. It is my hope that you and your families are doing well and staying connected. Cisco’s WebEx, Zoom, and FaceTime are now part of everyone’s experience.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the OCWS staff, Directors, Event Chairs, and Committees who work diligently to keep our organization going. The commitment and dedication to this organization is truly inspiring. The challenges we have faced in these past weeks have been met and the best outcomes possible have been achieved. As an organization, we are determined to come back with renewed enthusiasm when we return to our event schedules.

Phone calls to wineries and wine judges have conveyed how important our organization is to the California wine industry. A frequent comment from them is that they “love” our organization and all we do to support them. I have received numerous emails and notices from wineries, many that are among my favorites, letting me know they are still open for business through online sales. In fact, many wineries are currently offering discounts and offers of free or reduced shipping.

If you are able to visit your favorite wineries online and support them by purchasing wine, the wineries would appreciate it, and I am sure everyone could use some additional wine right now!  Not every winery has the ability to distribute their wines on a large scale and sales “out the door” are vital to their survival.

The OCWS web address can provide not only the winery name, but has each winery website linked to their listing. This is a good way to support the wineries that support our Commercial Wine Competition.

At the virtual April BOD meeting, the Board unanimously approved a 4-month extension of membership terms, and also committed to working on ways to keep our members connected and to provide innovative activities for our members. Please stay tuned as these concepts develop.

Please remember to stay safe, drink some really good wine from your cellar, and wash your hands!


Bill Redding, President

President Update 4/7/2020

Fellow members of the OCWS- These past few weeks have been difficult for just about everyone throughout the County, State and Nation.  As with other organizations we have been affected in both large and small ways.  Our office staff has been shifted to work remotely-Thank You Lynda and Rochelle!

We have had to accept many changes beyond our control.  The BOD and Committees have adapted to Webex meetings and alternate ways of doing our daily business.  Thank you to everyone for your patience and understanding as we have had to make these necessary changes.

Many of our events have been canceled due to the distance and meeting size requirements imposed by the Governor, the Orange County Fair and Event Center (OCFEC) and County Health Agency.   These have all been done in an attempt to ensure the health and safety of our county and state.  As an organization we also wish to ensure the health and safety of our members.   Up and down the state California Wineries have been forced to close their doors and conduct online business.  The restrictions that are currently in place have forced us to face the reality that some of our signature events must be modified, postponed or cancelled.

The Commercial Competition Committee in Coordination with the OCFEC has with much regret been forced to cancel the OC FAIR COMMERCIAL WINE COMPETITION for 2020. The decision was difficult and painful to make. A separate but related decision for the OC FAIR Home Wine Competition was also made by the Home Wine Competition Committee and the OCFEC. We are very proud of these competitions and their recognition and support of California wineries, winemakers both commercial and non-commercial. Please continue to support California wineries through purchasing your favorite wines

At the April 6th BOD meeting it was unanimously approved to extend all memberships an additional 4 months.  We will continue to work on mitigations as necessary in the days ahead.


Bill Redding

President’s Message

Dear OCWS members,

Effective March 16, all events on the Orange County Fairgrounds were cancelled for the next eight weeks by the Governor of California. This includes the Wine Auction, meetings, work parties, and other Fairground scheduled activities. As the OCWS transitions to a remote working environment, office support will be up and running and information will continue to be distributed to our membership via email and available on our website at

Additionally, the Eberle winery event in April and the ZD winery event in May at the Avenue of the Arts hotel have been canceled as the wineries have decided to do so under the current circumstances.

Due to restrictions and closures at food venues, the March 25th Dine with Wine at King’s Fish House, the April 26th Brunch at Newport Landing and the May 16th OCWS Spring BBQ have been canceled.

Our required TIPS training will also require some re-scheduling.

We are trying our best to get updates out to our membership who have signed up for upcoming events.   Please feel free to contact the Chair of the event which can be found on our website under About->Our Organization->Director Responsibilities.  Since most notifications are done using your email address listed in your My Profile under your account information please keep this information current.

As you have no doubt received numerous emails from organizations about the impact of the COVID-19 we are also working on these precautionary measures for the health and safety of our membership.  I am asking for your patience as we work through these difficult times for our membership, our communities and our nation.


Bill Redding