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California State Fair Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition opens Jan. 8

SACRAMENTO – As olive harvest season winds down in California, the California State Fair is preparing to launch its fifth California Commercial Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.

The competition opens earlier this season, beginning on Jan. 8, 2019, and closes earlier on Feb. 8, 2019. See rules and regulations here.

Judging at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds will move to Feb. 27, 2019, when a team of 15 certified sensory experts, led by the new head judge, Mr. Paul Vossen, will gather to determine the very best extra virgin and flavored olive oils produced in the state.

Each year more than 700 bottles of different varieties of extra virgin and flavored olive oils enter from all over the state.

Each oil producer is hoping all of their care, expertise and hard work will result in a coveted Best of Show Golden Bear Trophy. After five years of successful olive oil competitions, State Fair ribbons are proudly displayed in olive oil tasting rooms all over California.

The California State Fair is proud to announce the head judge for the 2019 competition, Mr. Paul Vossen. Vossen will employ his expertise and experience at the California State Fair olive oil judging to lead the team of 15 Judges and ensure a fair and ethical judging process.

With more than 30 years of experience in the field as a University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor in Sonoma County, Paul Vossen offers practical advice to large commercial ventures and hobby farmers alike for clients around the world.

His expertise is in fruit tree (cider apples, olives), berry, hop, and specialty vegetable culture as well as pest control, irrigation, olive oil processing, olive oil sensory evaluation and marketing of farm products. Paul is a regular speaker at conferences around the world on these topics and an instructor in olive oil sensory evaluation.

He is one of the founders of the Sebastopol Apple Promotion Committee (1982), Sonoma County Ag Marketing Program (1986), and the California Olive Oil Council in 1990.

He has developed statewide and international expertise in olive oil production, processing, and sensory evaluation, including management of the first olive oil taste panel in the USA to become recognized by the International Olive Oil Council in 2001.

Visit for a list of last year’s winners and more information on how to enter online.

The deadline for online entry for the 2019 California State Fair Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition is Feb. 8, 2019.

For more information visit

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