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Wine Talk with Alice Swift

Master Sommelier Michael Jordan Visits Hawai‘i
Master Sommelier Michael Jordan - photo by Alice Swift

On the island of O‘ahu in the state of Hawai‘i, there are three resident Master Sommeliers: Chuck Furuya, Patrick Okubo and Roberto Viernes. In August, Hawai‘i had a fourth Master Sommelier visit O‘ahu, bringing his expertise for the week. Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator, Michael Jordan, Director of Global Key Accounts with Jackson Family Wines, hosted a Jackson Family wine portfolio tasting on August 15 at Fujioka’s Wine Times (http://www.fujiokaswine.com).

For those who are not aware, Fujioka’s is part of TIMES Supermarkets, a Hawai‘i-based supermarket that started in 1949, which was recently purchased by Don Quijote Group. It is the only store of the TIMES location that specializes in fine wines and specialty foods. A variety of 30 wines from the Jackson Family Portfolio were poured, alongside some small bites. The favorites for the evening included the Cambria Benchbreak Chardonnay; Château Lassègue from Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France; and Stonestreet Legacy Red. In addition, the food selection paired well with the wines, the most popular being the truffle mushroom risotto and cannolis for dessert.

What made this an even more significant event for me was my prior encounter with Master Jordan. My first venture into the beverage education world was at the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona a few years back. After taking the Wines, Beers & Spirits course at the Collins College, I decided to study and take (and pass!) the Court of Master Sommeliers Level 1 certification. Turns out, Master Jordan was one of the sommeliers who taught my first class! I recall his first introduction joking about being the “other” Michael Jordan.

However, since then, I have always remembered him as being one of the most down-to-earth, good-hearted, and humble sommeliers I have ever met. He has an innate hospitality spirit, similar to the Aloha spirit, and his unpretentious attitude makes it easy for consumers to converse with him about wine, as I observed at the Jackson Family Wines Portfolio Tasting. It was so great to see him again, and, as I newly discovered, he also has some ties to Hawai‘i. Jordan grew up in Honolulu and was a food service management student at Kapi‘olani Community College before making his way to California.

Since then he has made quite a few strides in the F&B field before joining Jackson Family Wines in 2013: he opened several restaurants such as THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon and Pinot Provence, served as Global Manager of Wine Sales & Standards and Wine Educator for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts® Worldwide, has a radio talk show “What’s Cookin’ with Wine” and even produces his own wines under WORD VINEYARDS® and ‘OLELO Wines®.

Michael Jordan may live in sunny Southern California, but he will forever have roots in Hawai‘i. Each year, Jordan also returns to Hawai‘i as one of the Master Sommeliers for the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival. Keep an eye for him when he returns next year for the 37th annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, June 7-10, 2018 (https://kapaluawineandfoodfestival.com/).

Fun Fact! For those of you who have lived in Honolulu for a while, do you remember Matteo’s in Waikiki? Jordan’s father, Matty “Matteo” Jordan opened Matteo’s in 1969.

For more information on Jackson Family Wines, go to http://www.jacksonfamilywines.com.

Until next month, Cheers~!

Alice

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