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.
Margaret Edwards enjoyed a career as a dietitian, university lecturer (part
time), and management roles with leading New Zealand companies. She retired in 2003 to
concentrate on olive oil. She was the leader of the now disbanded IOC recognized New
Zealand tasting panel for olive oil. Margaret is an international olive oil judge, a
consultant to the olive industry. She runs olive oil workshops and lectures about New
Zealand extra virgin olive oil. She is the author of numerous publications about food,
nutrition and olive oil. Margaret and her husband own a boutique olive grove and olive
mill on Waiheke Island, New Zealand where they produce their award winning extra virgin
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 Australian National.
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.
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.
Pablo Voitzuk is an olive oil maker and taster, he is currently working with
Pacific Sun Farms in Gerber, Northern California. 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; Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive
Oil Competition, California Olive Oil Council, Japan Olive Oil Prize, Sol D’Oro,
Verona and BIOL, Puglia, Italy.
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.