Setting the gold standard for olive oil

For seven 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 17th anniversary in 2016. 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 Italy, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and France.

The wine and extra virgin olive oil competitions are the foundation for an extensive education program that’s available to nearly 1.3 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.