SOURCE: Fairplex


October 06, 2011 11:38 ET

Wine Expert Michael Jordan Named Honorary Chairman of the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition

POMONA, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 6, 2011) - The Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition has tapped restaurateur and Master Sommelier Michael Jordan to be its new honorary chairman. Competition organizers are tasking the former global manager of wine sales and wine education for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts® worldwide with assisting in growing and expanding the breadth of the competition, including refining its new point-system ratings.

Jordan is preparing to chair his first competition in May. The competition is held annually at Fairplex, home of the L.A. County Fair. Jordan is quite familiar with the LAIWSC, having served as a judge for many years. Jordan is one of few to hold both the Master Sommelier and the Certified Wine Educator diplomas. He created his own brand, Word Vineyards, and also serves as the host of a syndicated weekly radio talk show that is broadcast in several major AM Radio markets across the US. Jordan has had a hand in the operations of the award-winning Napa Rose Restaurant in Anaheim and the openings of Pinot Provence, Pavilion and Bella Teresa -- top restaurants in southern California. He is currently vice president of food and beverage of The Ranch restaurant, soon to open in Anaheim.

"I am honored and delighted to be named as the Honorary Chair of the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. It has been an absolute favorite wine event for me, something I have really enjoyed participating in each year," Jordan said. "I am looking forward to working with the amazing team of top industry professionals that produce one of the most seamless and well-run competitions in the world."

With the assistance of Jordan's expertise and background, the 73-year-old competition is planning to increase its number of entries and participants as well as grow consumer awareness. The competition is the foundation of a large public wine education program that's available to the nearly 1.5 million visitors during the annual L.A. County Fair. Said Jordan: "The public looks to the LAIWSC to evaluate the wines, spirits and olive oils that are entered from around the world. The top award winners are also presented during the L.A. County Fair along with daily seminars and tastings given by the best and brightest in the wine industry. It is a fun way to taste and learn!"

Seven decades of competition tradition began shortly after the end of prohibition, when the annual L.A. County Fair began awarding medals to the finest wines in California. The competition achieved world-class status, attracting wines from North and South America and finally in 2002, opened the doors to wine entries from around the world. Today, the event attracts more than 3,200 wine entries from more than 17 countries and includes spirits and extra virgin olive oils. Award winners are introduced to the public at Fun Decanted, a wine, beer and food festival held at Fairplex in June.

Jordan is stepping into a position held by Dr. Robert Small, who honorably served the wine competition for 13 years.

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