For 64 years, the L.A. County Fair wine competition has showcased the finest vintages from America and countries throughout the world, and illustrated time and again why this wine tasting competition is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious in the United States.
The L.A. County Fair competition, which began in 1935, is the oldest county fair wine tasting in the nation and was named one of the Top 5 wine competitions in the country by USA Today. The event will convene for the 64th time May 14-16 in the Millard Sheets Gallery at Fairplex. Titled “Wines of the World,” it will also feature an international olive oil competition and packaging design competition.
Beginning shortly after the end of prohibition, the L.A. County Fair began awarding medals to the finest wines in California. The event quickly grew to world-class stature. In 1991, judging included not only entries representing the California wine industry, but wines from throughout North and South America. Eventually, Italian varietals were added. Then in 2002, the doors were opened to entries from around the globe.
In the formative years of the competition, only 16 judges participated and fewer than 200 wines were sampled. It was later extended to two days, and in 1981, the event expanded to its current format of three consecutive days.
The Fair introduced a public wine tasting area in 1968, and in 1998 established a wine education center where the public can participate in wine education classes, enjoy gold medal-winning wine tasting and a display of award winning wines.
The late Harold Richardson, a noted California lawyer and wine connoisseur, chaired the inaugural L.A. County Fair wine judging. He and his wife, Ann Mayock, nationally known for her fine California-