2024 Sommeliers and panelists
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Michael Jordan, MS
Jackson Family Fine Wines
MICHAEL JORDAN, MS, CWE
Director of Global Key Accounts
“Sommelier for the People”
Host of CRN DIGITAL TALK RADIO’S “The Word on Wine”
• 2008 International Sommelier of the Year – Whitefish Wine & Food Summit
• 2007 General Manager of the Year – Southern California Restaurant Writers
• 2006 Restaurant Professional of the Year – Orange Coast Magazine
• 2003 & 2005 Sommelier of the Year – Southern California Restaurant Writers
• 2005 Wine Educator of the Year – Starwine
• 2001 & 2002 Sommelier of the Year – California Restaurant Writers Association
• 2022 ‘KNIGHTED’ in France – by L’Echansonnerie du Vin du Pape de France
Five-time Sommelier of the Year and Veteran Restaurateur affectionately named “Sommelier for the People” Michael Jordan is Director of Global Key Accounts for Jackson Family Wines.
Jordan travels the globe to work with key decision makers and hospitality industry leaders. Passionate and friendly, Jordan demystifies the world of wines as a true “Ambassador of Flavor” for wine lovers across the globe. With over forty years working in hospitality Michael holds both Certified Wine Educator and Master Sommelier Diplomas (one of only 15 people in the world to hold both).
Starting in the kitchens of his father’s famous Matteo’s Italian Restaurants in Hollywood and Waikiki, Jordan worked his way up to executive chef and has also done every job in the front and back of the house. Jordan fine tuned his hospitality skills at Four Seasons Hotel Newport Beach and opened restaurants for Chef Joachim Splichal in California and Nevada. Overall, Jordan has opened 17 restaurants.
Jordan was Chairman and Chief Judge of the Los Angeles International Wine Competition for15 years and Hosts the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival every year on the island of Maui – this will be the festival’s 42nd year.
Jordan also hosts a weekly radio show, The Word on Wine – in many AM radio markets across the country and podcast on CRN Digital Talk Radio.
Jordan’s previous roles include:
• Global Manager of Wine, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Worldwide
• President of The Beachcomber Restaurant Group
• Vice President of THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon (Zagat 28-29-28),
• GM/Somm of Napa Rose Restaurant, Disneyland Resort (Zagat 29-28-28)
• GM/Sommelier of the award-winning Pinot Provence Restaurant
• GM/Sommelier of the “AAA Five Diamond” Pavilion Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Newport Beach
Jordan has proctored examinations for the Court of Master Sommeliers to hundreds of Master Candidates, also taught wine education, service and hospitality to thousands of people in restaurants, hotels and cruise lines internationally, across the globe.
Michael was in the documentary movie called SOMM and was responsible for the concept and creation of the series of three SOMM movies – when filmmaker Jason Wise took Michael’s Wine Education Class at the Napa Rose Restaurant at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. Wise was inspired by Michael’s wine course to create the films that tell the story about the culture and dedication of service obsessed restauranteurs and hospitality professionals.
“Michael Jordan is one of just 15 people in the world awarded both Master Sommelier and CWE (Certified Wine Educator) Diplomas. And if there were an equivalent for farming heirloom tomato expertise, he’d have that, too.”
– Priscilla Mayfield’s column in Orange Coast Magazine – August 2013
Josh Orr, MS
Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Joshua Orr got his start in the wine industry while attending Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California. He worked for Breakaway Wine Tours as well as at Taste Wine Bar, a tasting bar for the Edna Valley Vintners Association.
Following graduation from Cal Poly, he lived and worked for a year in the famed Burgundy wine region of France. Upon returning from France, Orr moved directly to Las Vegas to begin work as a sommelier at B&B Ristorante in the Venetian and then Fiamma Trattoria in the MGM Grand. He left Vegas for San Diego where he was wine director for Vineagogo as well as the Marina Kitchen at the San Diego Marriott Marquis. With the birth of his first son, Brady, in 2015 he moved to the sales side of the industry with Epic Wines and now works for Broadbent Selections, a national wine importer.
Orr is one of the US’s newest Master Sommeliers, having passed the exam in 2019. He also was top of his class when passing the advanced exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is also a certified specialist of Sake from the Sake Education Council. Orr was named Ranch and Coast’s Best Sommelier in San Diego in 2012 and 2014. Also in 2014 he won the Top I Somm competition for best sommelier in the US.
Orr currently lives with his wife and two sons in San Diego and is the Director of Education as well as manages sales for SoCal, Hawaii and Nevada for the importer, Broadbent Selections.
Patrick Okubo, MS/RNDC
He is also a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) and Certified Specialist in Spirits (CSS). The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) he holds the Advanced Sake Level 3 Award, and is a WSET Educator.
Patrick is the Fine Wine Specialist and Wine Educator for Republic National Distribution Company (RNDC) Hawaii since 2011.
Born and raised in Kaimuki he graduated high school from University Laboratory School in 2000. He then went to the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelor of Science in Travel Industry Management with an emphasis in hospitality. 2016 he earned his Masters from Hawaii Pacific University with a Master of Arts in Organizational Change and Development, graduating with Distinction.
He has been a member of the National Guard since 1999 in the 111th Army Band as a Sergeant First Class and retired in 2021.
Patrick started a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Aloha Wine Foundation with a mission to Unite, educate, and inspire the Hawaii sommelier community. They primarily give scholarships to industry member to take wine classes.
Since the start of 2022 he was elected to the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas Board of Directors.
Previous to RNDC he opened Formaggio Grill in 2008 as Managing Partner managing all operations in the front house, kitchen, as well as business support operations. He opened the restaurant from construction to opening and expanded the operation to include a private banquet room. While he was there Formaggio Grill won Hale Aina Awards Gold Award for Best Wine Program from 2008-2010 and Ilima Awards Best Wine List.
Prior to Formaggio he was the Wine Director / Restaurant manager at Four Seasons Lana’i. He managed the fine dining restaurant at Manele Bay as General Manager. In addition to the restaurant he managed the wine program for both Manele and Koele including 13 different outlets from restaurants, banquets, room service, to retail shops.
Champagne & Caviar