For eight decades the Los Angeles International Wine Competition has bestowed gold medals to
the best wines from around the globe. Sixty years after the wine competition’s conception, the
addition of the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition was a perfect fit.
The extra virgin olive oil competition celebrates its 21st anniversary in 2020. Back in 2000, wine
competition organizers were looking for a way to expand the competition. The marriage of extra virgin
olive oil and wine was natural. Both require a distinguished palate, both have distinctive varietals,
both are important to serving the perfect meal. At its inception, the Los Angeles International Extra
Virgin Olive Oil Competition enlisted an impressive list of judges to taste the finest domestic extra
virgin olive oils. The competition was eventually opened to international oils, with oils coming from
Northern and Southern Hemisphere.
The wine and extra virgin olive oil competitions are the foundation for an extensive education program
that’s available to nearly 1.2 million visitors to the Los Angeles County Fair. Public wine
tasting began in 1968; in 1998 a wine education center opened, complete with consumer-driven classes,
tastings and a display of the award-winning wines. Extra virgin olive oil was added to the program in
2000 and spirits in 2007. The Los Angeles International Wine and Extra Virgin Olive Oil competitions are
committed to educating the public about wine and extra virgin olive oil, featuring industry experts with
extensive knowledge about selection, tasting and food pairings.
2020 Olive Oil Judges
Darrell Corti of Sacramento, Calif., is a wine merchant/grocer, President
of Corti Brothers, Sacramento. He is a long-time judge at the Los Angeles County Fair beginning in the
early 1970s. He is Chairman of the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.
PierPaolo Arca has been a Taster of Olive Oil since 1991; Panel leader since 1997;
Expert Olivecultural Sector of “Regione Sardegna”’ Technical Co-ordinator
“Comitato Concorso Nazionale Montiferru” olive oil from 1994 to 2011; Member of Jury of the
regional selection “Concorso Nazionale Ercole Olivario” in 1995/96/97/98/2000/01/04/05/06/10
and Panel Leader in 1999/2003/2007/2011; Member of the National Jury “Concorso Nazionale Ercole
Olivario” in 2000; Member of International Jury of the “Premio BIOL – International
Competition Organic Olive Oil from 1997 – 2011; Member of jury of SOL D’Oro International
Olive Oil Verona 2003; Member of International Jury of the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive
Oil Competition fromn 2008 – 2015; Member of Internaitonal Jury of the Japan Olive oil Prize in
2014 and 2015; Coordinator for Sardinia guide Extravergini olive oil Slow Food from 2002 to 2016 and the
Presidio Slow Food Extravergini by olive groves.
Maria Farr is an olive oil judge and sensory taster. The founder of The Renaissance
Kitchen, a company whose mission it is to educate the home cook on how to purchase, store, cook and
taste olive oil. She began training for olive oil sensory tasting at UC Davis, while continuing her
career as a high school Spanish teacher. Now she solely focuses on olive oil sensory tasting with
Applied Sensory, LLC, and consumer education through her business and blog. Maria resides in California
but frequently travels to Argentina, her birth place, to visit with family and enjoy her cattle ranch.
Richard Gawel is a consultant taster and blender for a number of Australian olive oil
companies. He was the inaugural head of Australia’s first recognized tasting panel and has been a
long time appointee as presiding judge of most of the major Australian Olive Oil shows including the
Orietta Gianjorio is a certified 3rd level Advanced Sommelier and a certified olive oil
taster part of the Italian Registry of Olive Oil Tasters and Experts. She holds a 2nd level certificate
as a Qualified Chocolate Taster from the Istituto Internazionale Chocolier, and a 2nd level certificate
as an Expert in Honey Sensory Analysis from the Italian Registry of Experts in Honey Sensory Analysis.
With only one test remaining, she is on her way to becoming one of only two people in the USA to be
certified as an expert in honey sensory analysis. She collaborates with the California Olive Oil Council
Taste Panel and the Applied Sensory Taste Panel, the Honey and Pollination Center and Mars Chocolate UC
Davis Chocolate Taste Panel. Orietta is the owner of ORIETTA LLC, a consulting company on sensory
evaluation and descriptive analysis to the wine, olive oil, chocolate and honey industries that also
offers Consumer Education, Gourmet Tastings and Cooking Classes for adults and children. Orietta is the
Delegate in Sacramento for the Italian Academy of Cuisine. She is the author of A guide to Olive Oil and
Olive Oil Tasting and two children’s books about olive oil and tasting, Coratina and Come Visit
The Teeny Tiny Town of Taste. Orietta was born and raised in Rome, and now resides in California.
Orietta has judged in different wine, olive oil, honey, chocolate and cheese competitions including the
Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition, Biol (Puglia, Italy), Sol D’Oro
(Verona, Italy), and The California State Fair Cheese Competition. She has written, produced and hosted
several TV shows in Italy and America and is a regular guest on many TV stations as a food and wine
taster and expert.
Jean-Xavier Guinard is Professor of Sensory Science at the University of California,
Davis. His research investigates the sensory and non-sensory determinants of food preferences, choice,
purchase and intake and optimizes the sensory and nutritional quality and consumer acceptance of foods,
beverages and other consumer products. Jean-Xavier has conducted extensive sensory and consumer research
on olive oil and he created and directed the UC Davis Olive Oil Taste Panel for several years.
Maria Luz Hurtado is an Agricultural Engineer, PhD, graduated from the University of
Chile. She began her studies and specialization in the area of olive oil in 2003, in different countries
like Spain and Italy. In 2004 she took over as Director of Oil Production and received her diploma in
the aforementioned university. She became an expert as a Tester in Olive Oil and has been working for
more than 14 years in olive oil research at the University of Chile.
Sue Langstaff has a Master’s degree in Food Science from the University of
California at Davis where she studied Sensory Science, Enology and Brewing. Sue has judged wine, beer
and olive oil at numerous competitions and her research in Sensory Science has been published in several
technical journals. Sue is co-editor of the book Olive Oil Sensory Science (Wiley/Blackwell, 2014) and
is the creator of The Defects Wheel for wine, beer and olive oil. Currently, Sue works as a sensory
scientist for her own consulting company, Applied Sensory, LLC which provides sensory consulting to the
food, wine and beer industries. Sue is also the North American Global Sensory Manager for FlavorActiV, a
company which provides sensory taste panel training and reference standards.
Julie Menge began her tasting career as an in-house taster for Dole Packaged Foods,
evaluating pineapple, fruit, and packaged food products while she was employed as an R&D chemist.
Her background includes biochemical and field research at Texas A&M Department of Soil and Crop
Sciences/Texas Ag Extension Service. In the late 90’s she began tasting olive oil with UC Davis to
improve the quality and standards of US produced olive oil. She was a founding member of all California
internationally certified olive oil taste panels and currently serves as a panel member, judge in olive
oil competitions, and teaches olive oil tasting classes.
Harold McGee writes about the science of food and cooking, and has been a frequent judge
for the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition since 2007. He started out studying
physics and astronomy at Caltech and then English literature at Yale University. In 1984 he published On
Food & Cooking: The Science & Lore of the Kitchen. Twenty years later, the revised and enlarged
edition of On Food & Cooking was named best food reference of 2004 by the James Beard Foundation,
and in 2008, Time Magazine named him to its annual list of the world’s most influential people.
From 2006 to 2011 he wrote a monthly column for The New York Times. Since 2011 he has been a visiting
lecturer in the Harvard University course "From Haute Cuisine to Soft-Matter Science."
Manuel Moriana is an Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) expert who graduated from the
University of Jaén, after completing EVOO courses and tastings at centers throughout Spain. He
managed his family’s agrobusiness operations across southern Spain during the last decade, and his
training led him to work as an EVOO expert in New York City and travel the world tasting different EVOO
varieties. He is a member of the Savantes Associate Register.
Marino Uceda Investigator Titular of the Andalusian Institute of Investigation, Panel
Chairperson and the Technical Director of the Proper Title of the University of Jaen. Marino is the
University expert in Tasting of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Coordinator and a participant of 41 projects in
the field of the extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Mercedes Uceda Maza has her MS in Biology and is a very qualified taster from the
University of Jaen, Spain. Mercedes is an Environmental Technician in Sustainable Development during 5
years in the Experimental Station “Las Palmerillas”, Almeria, Spain. She participates in
courses of olive oil tasting from UNIA in Baeza, Spain and Evora, Portugal.
Pablo Voitzuk is an olive oil maker and taster, working as an independent consultant,
with projects in California, New Zealand and Turkey. A native from Buenos Aires, he learned his skills
in olive oil and table olives curing working with Apollo Olive Oil and studying in Tuscany with Dr.
Marco Mugelli and in Sardinia with Pier Paolo Arca. He has judged in different olive oil competitions;
he is a regular at The Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition Fair and Japan Olive
Oil Prize, in Tokyo, Japan. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Paul Vossen has an MS degree from UC Davis in Horticulture (Tree Crops Production), a
Certificate in Olive Oil Production from the U of Córdoba, Spain; Panel Head Certificate from the
IOC; and a Certificate in Marketing from UC Berkeley. He recently retired as the UC Cooperative
Extension (UCCE) Farm Advisor in Sonoma County after 36 years. His primary expertise is in the areas of
fruit tree, berry, and specialty vegetable culture; pest control; and marketing of farm products. He
helps farmers with the evaluation of their land, production costs, selection of appropriate specialty
crops, cultural practices, pest control and advises on selling their produce. Over the years, he
coordinated 15 California Olive Oil Production Short Courses and taught 28 Olive Oil Sensory Evaluation
Courses in the US and internationally. He was a founder of the California Olive Oil Council, UC Davis
Olive Center and he developed the first olive oil taste panel in the USA to become recognized by the
International Olive Oil Council in 2001. Paul has been the panel leader for the UCCE olive oil taste
panel in Santa Rosa, CA. He serves as an olive oil judge at several US and international competitions.
In retirement, Paul now works as a private consultant helping producers all over the world to produce
and market the best olive oil possible.
2020 Package Design Judges
Flori Cademartori is a graphic & fashion designer from Southern
California. She studied at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, where she received her
Associates of Arts degree in Fashion Design. She currently owns, designs and manages a mens’
clothing company named Anenberg.
Brad Markley is a self-taught artist and figurative painter. He has received numerous
awards from the Pomona Valley Art Association and other organizations. He lives in Southern California
and is a store artist at Trader Joe’s.
Jolie Ross is a printing consultant with an emphasis on label and packaging design and
production. She has been in the printing trade for over 35 years, with a brand knowledge or print
techniques and application. Jolie assists on company branding and design for product line re-vamps,
marketing projects and brand launches.