Meet the First Woman Named Chair of the LA International Wine Competition

The Los Angeles International Wine Competition, one of the oldest and  most venerable wine meets in the United States, has named internationally recognized wine expert Spreti Valente as Chairwoman for 2022. 

Valente – a certified sommelier, professional wine judge, and consultant – is the first woman and first Latino to be awarded the distinction of Chair for the 87-year-old competition.  

“I am thrilled to share my expertise with the Los Angeles International Wine Competition and to help it  grow in prestige and in entries,” said Valente, who is a long-time judge for LAIWC. 

“My goal is to not only encourage wineries to enter a wine competition that brings them remarkable marketing opportunities but also to showcase diversity in the wine world. There are segments of the  market out there that have been relatively untouched, I want them to join in the conversation to be an  active part of the conversation going forward. The wine world for decades has been focused on  traditional wineries and winemakers. My goal is to broaden the focus to show the complexities in the  modern wine world, and to highlight their efforts.” 

The wine competition has been a component of the 100-year-old LA County Fair since 1935. Beginning  shortly after the end of prohibition, the LA County Fair began awarding medals to the finest wines in  California. The event quickly grew to world-class stature and began accepting entries from international  wineries. The 2022 competition will be March 9 and 10. 

Medal-winning wines from LAIWC are featured in the Fair’s wine education program and are poured at a  special consumer event in the summer, Cheers. Cheers offers wine aficionados and casual wine drinkers  an opportunity to explore the best of the best from the competition, providing them with guidance as  they select wines to drink at home and at play. 

Valente’s experience as a professional wine judge includes work with prestigious wine competitions in  the U.S. and Europe. In 2017, Valente was named the chief judge for the Pacific Rim Wine Competition.  As a consultant, Valente assists clients in developing their wine marketing programs and producing widely attended wine events. She also works as an educator, teaching wine classes to public and  university audiences. Valente’s consulting work has been published in Spanish and English, in the U.S. and abroad. 

Walter Marquez, President and CEO of Fairplex – home to the Fair and LAIWC – said Valente is the  perfect person to chair the competition at this moment in time. 

“Spreti’s passion is apparent in everything she does and that enthusiasm is captivating. That is why the  timing is right for her to lead our competition. After going on hiatus in 2021, Spreti’s knowledge,  contacts in the industry and desire are what we need to get our competition back and running better  than ever.” 

The wine competition annually sees more than 3,000 entries from the U.S., Europe, Asia, South America,  Australia and beyond. Medal winners not only get bragging rights but also have the opportunity to  market to the more than 1 million guests who visit the LA County Fair and Cheers. That’s a great  investment for a $95 entry fee. 

“I want wineries and producers to feel compelled to enter because we offer an excellent panel of expert  judges, an amazing history and opportunities to market their wines that they cannot get anywhere else,”  Valente said. “They can’t afford not to enter.” 

The annual LA County Fair is May 5-30. Cheers is June 18.  

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.