2016 Los Angeles International Wine Competition Recap

The 2016 Los Angeles International Wine Competition has come to a close — all that’s left is seeing who won what.

We want to give a special thank-you to all our judges who wined (and dined!) with us last week. We had a wonderful time hosting and seeing everyone have fun.

The competition started with our traditional Judges Welcome Ceremony, then it was straight into judging.

Fairplex Events WineComp judgesdiscuss2 1024x768 2016 Los Angeles International Wine Competition Recap

We celebrated the end of the first day with a special farm-to-table dinner, made especially for our judges.

Day 2 carried out in similar fashion, with judges swirling, sniffing and spitting their way through dozens of wine entries.

All in all, this year’s competition was a definite success. We can’t wait to sample the winning entries at Cheers: LA’s Wine, Spirits, Beer & Food Festival, and again at the LA County Fair!

Cheers – L.A.’s Wine, Spirits, Beer & Food Fest returns to Fairplex

Summer is finally here and so are the outdoor Festivals!

If you need a break from college, work or life, in general, then you need to come to Fairplex this Friday, June 27 for Cheers — L.A.’s Wine, Spirits, Beer & Food Festival.

Tomorrow evening people from across Southern California will come to our Fairplex Farm for a celebration of the Los Angeles International Wine, Spirits and Beer Competitions. Guests will not only be able to enjoy unlimited tastings of award-winning wine, spirits and beer, but they will also be able to indulge in some of SoCal’s most popular food truck specialties.

Tickets are available online for $60 through June 26; $75 at the door. All guests must be 21 and over.

Admission ticket includes:
- Event admission & tastings of award-winning wine, spirits, beer and extra virgin olive oil
- Commemorative glass
- $10 in food truck bucks – Food trucks to be announced soon (bucks not valid at farm-fresh flatbread pizza oven)
- $35 is tax deductible and goes to support the educational programs of The Learning Centers at Fairplex
- Dance the night away with a DJ and stop by the silent auction
- Wine garden, beer tavern, spirits lounge and organic garden

Cheers is a fundraising event to benefit the educational programs of The Learning Centers at Fairplex. Through the distinctive resources of Fairplex, TLC provides a wide spectrum of innovative and enriching educational experiences that bring learning to life, benefit diverse communities and prepare participants for success.

For more information about Cheers or TLC, visit www.tlcfairplex.org.

2015 Los Angeles International Wine Competition

The Los Angeles International Wine Competition officially began this morning at our Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center.

Since its inception, the competition has maintained the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, earning USA Today’s recognition as one of the Top 5 wine competitions in the United States. Due to the competition’s popularity, this year over 3,000 wines from around the globe will be sniffed, swirled and tasted by a panel of approximately 85 international judges.

Prize-winning entries will not only be on display and available for tasting at Cheers – L.A.’s Wine, Spirits, Beer & Food Festival, but also at the LA County Fair. Fair warning: be prepared to have a first-class experience while at our grounds!

For more information on the Los Angeles International Wine Competition visit www.lawinecomp.com. Winners will be announced later this month.

Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator, Michael Jordan, shared with us a bit about his background and role in this competition:


L.A. Weekender: Fairplex Happenings

Happy Friday, everyone! We hope you all had a very productive week and that y’all are ready to get the weekend started. If you are like me and don’t have anything planned for this weekend, then please continue reading this blog because this weekend is packed with events perfect for all age groups.

PublicAuction 150x132 L.A. Weekender: Fairplex HappeningsPublic Auction (April 17-18): Countless cars, pickup trucks, vans, SUV’s and other vehicles will be auctioned off at Fairplex this Saturday. If interested, preview day is Friday and actual bidding and sale is Saturday. Event will take place on White Avenue Lot, through Gate 9. Free parking at Gate 23 on Fairplex & Puddingstone Drives. For more information about this free admission event visit the Fairplex events page.

Palates 150x132 L.A. Weekender: Fairplex HappeningsPalates & Palettes: Food, Wine and Paint (April 18): This month’s Palates and Palettes event revolves around French artist Henri Matisse. Enjoy complimentary food pairings presented by Vince Cavalli of McKinley’s Grille and wine selections from Nice, France, selected by Silverlake Wine. In this unique and relaxing ambiance, you will create an original painting guided by an experienced art teacher as you listen to relaxing and regional music in a supportive, friendly atmosphere. All materials are provided, and you will take home your finished work at the end of the evening. All levels are encouraged, no experience required. There are still a few spots open! Register here!

FamilyArt 150x132 L.A. Weekender: Fairplex HappeningsMillard Sheets Art Center Free Family Workshops: The Millard Sheets Art Center is bringing back its free family art workshops focusing on art skills and fun craft projects for the whole family. Projects will be taught in Spanish & English with one group for parents and elementary students and another for middle school students, so make sure to join the fun! For more information about this event visit the Fairplex events page.

Cosmo 150x132 L.A. Weekender: Fairplex HappeningsCosmo Run 7K (April 18): LADIES, Cosmo Run 7K is this Saturday! Ditch your place and come have fun at this all ladies evening event! Participating in a 7K does not have to be boring, so gather your sisters, friends and female colleagues and register for the event. Your race swag will include a Cosmo 7k martini glass, goody bag and more. The finish line will have 3 different Three Olive Vodka Cosmo stations – each featuring a different Cosmo flavor! To learn more about this event visit the the Fairplex events page.

PomonaSwapMeet 150x132 L.A. Weekender: Fairplex HappeningsPomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show (April 19): According to weather reports, Sunday’s weather will be perfect for our Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show. Hundreds of original and restored classic vehicles will be on display and for sale in six specialized Car Corral sections: Pre 1985 Classics, any year Corvettes, any year Porsches, Pre 1959 Street Rods, Pre 1985 Volkswagens and Pre 1985 Imports. General admission is $10 and children 12 and under are free. For more information visit www.fairplex.com.

To see what else is going on at Fairplex, please check out our Events Page.

The Fairplex L.A. Weekender is a calendar of weekend events throughout Los Angeles County, from the heart of downtown to the beach cities to the IE. Additional information about all listings can be found at the event’s official website. If you have suggestions for an event, leave a comment in the box below or email us at madrigal@fairplex.com

Cheers: Drinking for a good cause

EGW28  Cheers: Drinking for a good cause What does career and child development have in common with wine tasting and dancing the night away? In our case, everything.

On Saturday night the Wine & Spirits Marketplace opened its doors to the public for an evening of eating, drinking and being merry. Appropriately named Cheers – L.A.’s Wine, Spirits, Beer & Food Festival, the event celebrated two aspects of Fairplex: The Learning Centers and the Los Angeles International Competitions. Fundraising meets festivity.

EGW75 2 292x300 Cheers: Drinking for a good cause Guests sampled award-winning wines, spirits and beers from the competition at their leisure before chowing down at the diverse array of food trucks outside the marketplace.

The expansive marketplace was divided into three sections: a wine garden, spirits lounge and beer tavern, similar to our set up during the L.A. County Fair. Guests could flit from station to station and learn a little bit about each of their samples.

Underlying all the merrymaking was one goal: supporting education and career development for Learning Center students–from the tiniest toddler to the most knowledgeable senior. The $50 admission price went towards the programs at The Learning Centers. While we are known for the L.A. County Fair and hosting year-round events, a big part of our core lies in CTEC (Career and Technical Education Center), CDC (Child Development Center) and our other education and leadership development programs.

EGW76 1 Cheers: Drinking for a good cause It was fun to relax and enjoy the first weekend of summer at Fairplex. The dancing, the sips and swirls of wine and spirits, (no spitting here!) and the taste of thick, gooey grilled cheese and sugary frosted cupcakes–among the many other food truck options–made Saturday night one for the books.


L.A. International Wine Competition: Day 2

wineroompano L.A. International Wine Competition: Day 2 Los Angeles International Wine Competition employees prepare the wine for our judges

The wine judging began yesterday morning and continues strong today. Anyone walking into the ballroom will be greeted with a whiff of wine… a lot of wine. The sound of clinking glasses and the scratching of judges’ pencils and the sight of plates heaped with generous amounts of cheese, grapes, crackers and other pairings completes the scene.

Here are a few photos we’ve taken from the competition:

wineglasses 300x300 L.A. International Wine Competition: Day 2

All lined up and ready to go

winetastingjudges 300x224 L.A. International Wine Competition: Day 2


dodgers1 225x300 L.A. International Wine Competition: Day 2

Reppin' Dodger blue in the judges room

The judges ended yesterday’s round with their own Table-to-Farm dinner out at McKinley’s Farm. Staying true to tradition, Chef David Teig prepared the feast right in front of the judges. A wide variety of foods was served, including a course of octopus. Vegetables, fruits and herbs were taken fresh from the farm (of course.)

How To: Choose Food and Wine Pairings

wine glasses How To: Choose Food and Wine Pairings

Los Angeles International Wine Competition

“Anyone can choose food to go with wine,” you might think. “After all, the suggestions are right there on the bottle, and last I checked, crackers, cheese and wine were always a win.”

That’s true. But why be a boring host?

There are several elements to take into consideration when pairing wine and food together. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind when selecting wine and food, taken from the experts at Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Enjoy!

Salt: “Salty foods seem to limit your wine choices. But with a bit of imagination, you can conjure up some remarkable combinations of salty foods and sweet wines. Bleu cheese and Sauternes is another one of the world’s classic food and wine combos.

Sparkling wines are a homerun with salty, fried foods. The carbonation and yeasty acids emulate beer and clean the salt from your palate, while adding more interesting textures and flavor nuances. Salt is also a principal flavor in briny seafood such as oysters. Acidic wines clean out the salt and balance the rich ocean flavors of the oyster.”

wine pairing1 cheese wine.s600x600 How To: Choose Food and Wine Pairings

From life123.com

Fat: “A lot of our favorite meat and dairy products have high levels of fat. Wine doesn’t contain fat, so when matching a wine with fatty foods, remember that it has to balance that fat with acid, cut it with tannin, or match its richness with alcohol.

This is why a prime cut of steak tastes so good with a cabernet-based wine; the beef’s protein and fat softens up the wine’s mouth-drying tannins. This sets up the tongue for the wine’s fruit and berries and forest flavors to complement the smoky, meaty flavors of the steak.”

Texture: “As for matching textures, think light and heavy. Light foods are best with light wines; heavy foods with heavy wines. That’s the safest way to go about it. A more adventurous path is to experiment with contrast: matching light foods to heavy wines and vice versa. This will require more testing, to keep the tension dynamic and avoid having the lighter flavors over-shadowed by the heavy ones.”

Read about the other three elements of wine/food pairings and some suggestions on food over here.

An afternoon with Fabrizia Lanza

IMG 5160 An afternoon with Fabrizia Lanza Talented Sicilian chef Fabrizia Lanza set up shop in the Wine & Spirits Pavilion where she cooked up a delicious contemporary Sicilian meal for an already captivated audience.

Today’s event was a preview of what is to come tomorrow night at Fairplex’s traditional Table to Farm dinner.

Charming, sassy and an excellent multi-tasker (as all chefs are), Fabrizia regaled us with stories of her time spent traveling the world and her experiences in teaching culinary school, all the while stirring, frying and creating a Sicilian master piece. Items on the menu included stewed lamb with a hint of fresh peppermint Spezzatino di Agnello con L’Erbe di Case Vecchie), eggplant paremesana and almond pudding with the Queen’s cookies (biancomangiare with biscotti regina).

food3 300x199 An afternoon with Fabrizia Lanza Within two hours Fabrizia cooked up a delicious lunch that would have even the pickiest kitten purring. Guests paired their meal with delicious wine, some imported directly from Fabrizia’s family estate back in Italy.

We can’t wait to see what a full-on dinner looks like with her talents and palette of expertise.


The art of wining and dining

winephoto 300x300 The art of wining and dining

Photo taken from FriendsEat

Contrary to what commercials would have you believe, beer isn’t the alcohol that brings people together. In my opinion it’s wine.

Fancy dinner? Wine. Date night? Wine. Girls night in? Wine. Pizza and football? Wine. Okay, maybe that last one is just me. The point is… wine is perfect for most occasions. In the words of Martin Luther, “Beer is made by men. Wine by God.” Just sayin’.

In just a few months, the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition is coming back to Fairplex for it’s 75th run. The competition is one of the most prestigious wine-tasting events in the United States.

The best part of the whole thing? All the award-winning wines are showcased at the L.A. County Fair as part of the wine education program which means some of the finest in wine and spirits are available to the public. Industry experts lead classes shedding light on wine and food pairings as wine tasting techniques.

Clearly we are all for the wine and dine deal here. But an article from the Washington Street Journal begs to differ. In fact, the author questions the necessity of studying food pairings so intricately at all. Read the article here.

Whether you agree with the article or not, you can’t deny the pleasures of eating a deliciously cooked meal and sipping a glass of the wine of your choice. Of course, it’s up to you how much research you want to put into your choice of food and beverage icon smile The art of wining and dining

As for me? I am looking forward to the end of the week when I can recline by my fireplace with a glass of Merlot in hand, as rain patters on the windows and Death Cab For Cutie plays softly inside. But again, maybe that’s just me.

What’s your favorite time to drink wine? And what’s your take on wine and food pairings?


Thanksgiving has ended, but the feast has just begun!

email fabrizia Thanksgiving has ended, but the feast has just begun! Our annual Table to Farm Dinner is this weekend and preparations are almost completed. We are excited to welcome guest chef Fabrizia Lanza to Fairplex. Fabrizia is a professional chef at the world-famous Anna Tasca-Lanza cooking school in Sicily, Italy.

The evening includes cocktail hour meet & greet with Ms. Lanza,
a family-style dinner celebrating recipes from Ms. Lanza’s new
cookbook paired with wines from the Regaleali estate, Tasca d’Almerita, and medal winners from the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition.


We are eager to “travel” to Sicily and experience her fine dishes for ourselves!