President’s Message

Beautifully Hard Decisions

As President, I have the honor and challenging task of presenting the President’s Award at the Annual Business Meeting to a person whose commitment to the OCWS is on a scale par to, almost, none. It seems the list of potential candidates is the same each year, but mostly with people whose names show up all year long in one volunteer capacity or another. These people are the glue of the organization and what keeps us functioning at what on the surface seems to be effortless, which is as far from the truth as you can get. Many of these people are past directors and well know what they have gotten themselves into by volunteering on an almost full-time basis and taking responsibility for major portions of the organization. These are the people who, besides your Board of Directors on any given year, play an integral part in running the business of the OCWS.

This accolade is due to many, and many of the people whose names you see below have already received this honor in the past, but I would be remiss if I didn’t publish a list of people who put their hearts and souls into the Orange County Wine Society just this year.

Just 2022 alone, the following people have my thanks for more reasons than there is room to list:

  • Liz & Lloyd Corbett – Head of Cataloging for the Commercial Wine Competition and creators of the Featured Winery Program at the OC Fair, which brought in almost $17,000 this year for the scholarship fund.
  • Kevin Coy – Head of Judges for the Commercial Wine Competition, CWC Move and Sort, and Wine Cellar Supervisor throughout the year, among anything else he sees that needs to be done.
  • Leslie Hodowanec – Chair of the OCWS Scholarship Fund, Set-Up and Tear-Down Coordinator for The Courtyard at the OC Fair.
  • Teri & John Lane – Successors to the Corbetts in Cataloging for the Commercial Wine Competition, Lead Coordinator and trainer for ABC RBS training for The Courtyard at the OC Fair (Teri), Head of Judges for the Home Wine Competition (John).
  • Bill Redding – OCWS Cellarmaster, which is a year-round job coordinating wines and all associated event functions, i.e., sorting wine lots for the Auction, etc., and Facilities Coordinator for the Commercial Wine Competition.
  • Stacey Taylor – Technology oversight and creator of and Commercial Wine and Home Wine Competition software programs.

And, although current Board members, the following people well deserve acknowledgement:

  • Carolyn Christian – OCWS Marketing, which is a year-round job for the overall organization and wine competitions. Carolyn did an amazing job this year on implementing social media campaigns.
  • Rich Skoczylas – Winery Program Coordinator, Volunteer Scheduler for The Courtyard at the OC Fair, Cooks Caucus member, among other things.

These people are just the beginning when it comes to the magnitude of volunteerism it takes to make things run smoothly and continue to bring you, our members, events to enjoy. Every member who volunteers, whether it be on a full-time basis or just a few hours a year at one event makes a major contribution to the functioning of the OCWS and are desperately needed to continue our success in the future.

My thanks to these people for what they do and to all of you for considering helping in some small way.

– Fran Gitsham, President