President’s Message

President’s Message

As we enter April, our summer activities are coming more into focus. Although the COVID pandemic is still affecting our lives every day, we are beginning to focus on our OCWS summer activities. Our Board members and Committee Chairs have been working with OCFEC, and we were glad to hear an OC Fair executive confirm that “the Commercial Competition is very important to our program.” The OCWS Commercial Wine Competition is on track for June 5-6, and our Home Wine Competition is scheduled to be held on June 19. Marketing materials have gone out, and we will be contacting our members over the next few months asking for volunteers.

We also now have our OCWS in-house office once again staffed Monday through Friday by Lynda Edwards and Rochelle Randel, and Liz and Lloyd Corbett will be working in Building 15 to receive wines for both of our Competitions. Thank you for continuing to work with us and helping us move back into the OCWS groove

During April, we are continuing our virtual seminars, with several Monday night “Varietal Hours,” starting April 5 with Sangiovese. On April 9, we have our Winery Webinar program with Russian River Vineyards, and on April 21, we have a Wine Education Seminar on “Wines of Central Coast.” Further information is available in articles in this edition of the newsletter and on our website at under the Events tab. 

As I have discussed in the past two months, after suspending annual fees for the past year, we are resuming asking for annual membership fees of $40 for singles or $60 for doubles this month. I hope this will not inconvenience anyone, and I look forward to seeing everyone “re-upping” when your month comes up and participating in our events this year and next year!

Thank you all for your continued support during these difficult times, and I look forward to actually SEEING you in the not-too-distant future.

Kevin Donnelly, President

President’s Message

February has flown by despite most of us still being locked down from the COVID pandemic. The OCWS has been doing their best to keep our social connections by hosting not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different seminar tracks with our Sunday Winter Seminars, our Monday night Varietal Hours, our monthly Friday night Webinars, and the Winemakers’ Group seminars. We have several new and free “zoominars” coming up this month, so be sure to check out the Events page on our website, and the “Save the Date Calendar” at the end of this newsletter. 

We also plan to start more of our Wine Education Webinars this month with our certified Sommelier, starting on March 24, Wines of Mexico.

As I mentioned in my last month’s President’s Message, after suspending OCWS membership renewal fees for the past 12 months, we will resume asking for annual membership fees next month. Your renewal will be two years since your last fee, so If you renewed last time on April 1, 2019, we will request you renew on April 1, 2021. If your renewal was May 1, 2019, we will request you renew on May 1, 2021. We appreciate all of you for helping to maintain the Orange County Wine Society during one of the most trying years of our lives.

Update on our 2021 Commercial Wine Competition, Home Wine Competition, and our Courtyard at the OC Fair—the OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) is still waiting for finalization of direction from both the State and the Orange County Health Department. We are making preparations for all of these activities, but we haven’t received the final “go-ahead” from the OCFEC. I will keep you all informed as we get updates.

The Los Angeles County Fair has been canceled for 2021, so we hope we do not suffer the same fate.

Hopefully, many of you have received your COVID vaccinations or have plans to do so in the near future. This will be the key to OCWS conducting more activities in conjunction with the OC Fair, and we all want to get back to work. (And by that, I really mean PLAY!)

I wish everyone a healthy and happy March!

Kevin Donnelly, President

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