Scholarship News

2020-2021 OCWS Scholarship Drive—Time to Wine-Up

Scholarships are important to the core of the OCWS, especially to the dedicated students we support. Due to COVID-19 and the cancellation of scholarship fundraising sources, the scholarship account has only 10% of what we funded last year at this time. We have lost the top three and more of five sources that account for Undesignated (shared) and Designated (specific) Scholarship funds. We need the help of our generous OCWS members to Wine-Up Scholarships this fall. 

Every new OCWS membership and renewal provides $12.50 into our Scholarship Fund. This past year, the BOD twice suspended expiring memberships, for a total of 8 months of no incoming undesignated funds.

Judges’ donations from our Commercial Wine Competition are combined and rotated in an annual order to one of our seven colleges and universities. There was no designated 2020 Judges’ donation. The Courtyard at the OC Fair generates funds in two areas. Donations awarded from the onsite Featured Winery Program and winemakers serving at the Express Bar are divided between colleges that officially enter our competition. There was no 2020 designation.

The largest incoming annual source of almost half of the total OCWS scholarship funds every year are the tips/gratuity donations our fabulous volunteers generate over The Courtyard counter during the OC Fair. There are no undesignated sources this year from The Courtyard either.

Ways to Wine-Up. For this 2020 tax year, the CARES Act allows tax benefits in the form of a universal deduction up to $300 toward 501(c)(3) organizations for those that do not itemize their deductions. As an alternative, you can make contributions directly from your IRA or 401(K) and avoid additional income on your individual return. Always check with your tax professional as how it applies to you.

On our OCWS website, click on Scholarship Program and Donations. You may designate your contribution toward a specific college. An undesignated option is to divide your contribution to be equally distributed between seven colleges. After you make your donation, you will be able to print your receipt for your tax records. The Cunningham Endowment is specifically designated to Sonoma State University and you must contribute separately to that account. With unprecedented disappointments this year, let’s show that the OCWS can Wine-Up as a scholarship organization with benefits toward grateful recipients for 2021. 

– Leslie Hodowanec, Director & Scholarship Chair

News from OCWS Scholarship Universities and Colleges

We were delighted to hear about the inspiration and many accomplishments from the scholarship colleges and universities the OCWS supports. Students are studying in virtual classes and labs. Following is a bit of news so worthy of sharing.

Allan Hancock College Winery, Santa Maria Campus, is celebrating their fifth anniversary as a commercially bonded winery. Students carry over to a four-year university by participating in harvesting, production, bottling, marketing, and sales of award-winning wines. They produce their own bottles, and their labels are designed by the Campus Graphics Dept. AHC Winery has an on-campus wine club that provides Friday afternoon tastings to those over 21, and their wines are available for purchase. Allan Hancock 2018 and 2019 OCWS medal winners are Chardonnay, Malbec, Torrontes, Albarino and Rose of Pinot Noir.

Many students at the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Justin and J. Lohr Center for Wine and Viticulture are employed by local wineries while they study. A new learning lab building was recently completed by donated funds and equipment where students conduct experiments and analysis of specific varietals.

Cal State Fresno Jordan College of Agricultural Science and Technology vineyards are still growing grapes and are continuing to cultivate and care for all the agricultural crops on a daily basis. While practicing safe distancing guidelines, a local winemaker and students have been volunteering to bottle Fresno State wines. Fresno State 2018 and 2019 OCWS medal winners are Zinfandel, Muscat, Pinot Noir, Proprietary White and Rose of Grenache.

Several students from the Sonoma and Napa Valley areas are returning from losing their homes and family businesses, wine cellars, and wineries in recent wildfires. With the 2020 OC Fair cancelled, the OCWS will miss out on donations garnered during the Fair and allocated to the OCWS scholarship fund.

Many thanks to our members for continuing to support our eight scholarship colleges and universities.

The OCWS congratulates the graduating Class of 2020 Enology and Viticulture students. We wish you the best in your future wine-related endeavors. Keep in touch with us.

– Leslie Hodowanec, Scholarship Chair