|This year’s Michelangelo sees several exciting developments, from the new Tonnellerie de Mercurey Trophy for the Best Bordeaux Blend, a very experienced brandy and grappa panel that will judge both products on individual merit and style, introducing a separate class for straw wine entries, CCL Label extending their sponsorship with a further five years and confirmed promotions in both Namibia and Canada for medal winners.
‘Entries are being received at a steady pace and it seems as if the competition will reach a new entrant high this year. We are very excited. The judging panel are looking forward to the challenge at hand,’ says Lorraine Immelman, owner and MD of the Michelangelo International Wine Awards.
Since the competition’s inception fifteen years ago, more than 150 international wine experts from 36 countries have served on the panels. This year is no exception, with a seasoned international panel flying in from fourteen different countries. The judges for 2012 are:
Ana Aga (Greece) graduated from the Department of Oenology and Technology of Beverages at the Technological Institute TEI Oenologist in Athens, worked as a winemaker for more than eleven years at various wineries in Greece, was employed as sommelier and passed the WSET Level 2 Intermediate Certificate in Wines and Spirits. She recently judged at the Thessaloniki International Wine Competition and served on the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles’ panel in 2010 and 2011.
Bojan Kobal (Slovenia) graduated as engineer in Food Science and Technology from the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. He has more than ten years’ experience as winemaker and wine judge. He is currently the winemaker at Ptuj Wine Cellar, founded in 1239. Under his direction the winery accumulated more than 195 Gran’d Or, gold and silver medals in international competitions.
Chris Alblas (the Netherlands) starting organising wine tasting and seminars more than 25 years ago. He studied oenology at the Dutch Wine Academy, where he later lectured specialising in wine from the Loire and Alsace regions. He is a member of the Dutch Association of Wine educators, the International Federation of Wine and Spirits Journalists and Writers and the Wine and Food Association Press Jury. Chris contributes to various speciality magazines and journals, specifically on wine, brandy and whisky and also consults for book publishers. He was honoured with the ‘Prix Louis Marinier’ for his articles on Bordeaux and received a silver pin for his work as taster at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. He also judged for Talent Bordeaux, the Michelangelo International Wine Awards, Concours Mondial du Sauvignon and several other panels.
Christine Rudman (South Africa) is a qualified Cape Wine Master. She worked at Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery for 14 years and principal at the Cape Wine Academy for seven. She now consults various wine farms, lectures, writes about wine and serves on several judging panels. She published ‘A Guide to the Winelands of the Cape’.
Doug Frost (USA) is one of only three people worldwide to have passed both the Master Sommelier and Master of Wine exams. Apart from being the author of several books and contributing to various publications on wine and spirits, he is also the ‘Check Please!’ host, a weekly public television show. He is the wine and spirits consultant for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Apart from being the founder of the Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition and the Mid-American Wine Competition he also judges in more than a dozen others. The ‘Wine Spectator’ bestowed the honour of Master of Spirits on him.
Edwin Soon (Singapore) is a qualified oenologist from Roseworthy College, Adelaide University. Apart from being the wine editor for Edipresse, he also contributes to several other publications. He often judges at international wine competitions, including the Concourso Enologico Internationale, Vinitaly, the Banco d’Assaggio dei Vini d’Italia, the Malaysian Starhill Wine Challenge, the HK Cathay Pacific wine challenge, the Shanghai Wine 100 Challenge and the Wine for Asia Wine Challenge. Ed ran the Food Hotel Asia Wine and Spirit Challenge for six years, where after he headed the Peak Magazine’s Top 100 Wine Challenge. He also occupies himself by reviewing and judging restaurants, lecturing on wine and training sommeliers.
Emiliano Falsini (Italy) consults as oenologist for a number of wineries all over Italy. He graduated cum laude from the Facolta’ Di Agraria Universita’ Di Firenze and received his doctorate in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Florence. He is currently busy with his post-doctorate at the University of Bordeaux, focusing on production techniques and the sensory analysis of wine. He worked in Firenze, California and New Zealand. For the last twelve years Emiliano has been employed as consulting oenologist for several major Italian winegrowing regions. He recently judged in competition in both Italy and internationally, including the International Wine & Spirit Competition, Japan Wine Challenge, the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and Vinoandino.
Gesús Bernard (Spain) studied oenology, viticulture and winemaking at the Escuela de la Vid in Madrid. He passed the highly acclaimed Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET, London) Professional Certificate in Spirits with distinction. He worked as sommelier, wine consultant and presented wine courses and training programmes for wine professionals. He also writes about wine and published several books. Gesús is an experienced brandy and spirits judge having gained experience from several years on the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles panel. He has also written several papers on brandy and cognac. Additionally he served on several other international panels.
Helena Baker (Czech Republic) holds a Diploma in Wine and Spirits (WSET, London) and is an authorised sherry wines educator. She has written, translated and co-authored about 30 titles and contributes to Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson’s ‘World Atlas of Wine’, ‘Oxford Companion to Wine’ and ‘Pocket Wine Book’. She is an internationally recognised wine judge and regularly serves on various panels.
Jean Smullen (Ireland) started her career 21 years ago developing and co-ordinating a countrywide wine education programme. She has comprehensive commercial experience, focusing in the management of specialised wine events and public relations. Jean holds a Diploma in Wine and Spirits (WSET, London) and is a member of the International Circle of Wine Writers. She is also a wine journalist, conducts wine tours and corporate wine tastings and presents training courses. She has been a member of the judging panel for Concours Mondial de Bruxelles since 2006, judged at Mundus Vini, Essencia do Vinho and Vinipax.
Jean-Christophe Bourgeois’ (France) grandfather, Henri, established a small 2 ha vineyard in the 1950’s. Today, this modest start has grown to a 75 ha estate, with 60% of production being exported to more than 70 countries. Jean-Christophe annually assists with the estate’s New Zealand harvest and wine making process, regularly visits the winelands of Chile, California, Canada, Italy and Austria. He studied Technicien Supérieur Viti culture-Oeologie and Technicien Agricole at Beaune Viticultural School. He judged, amongst others, at Mondial du Sauvignon, the World Wide Challenge, Diners Club International Wine Tasting and the Michelangelo International Wine Awards. For the past 18 years he judged on the French wine guide, ‘Guide Hachette des Vins de France’.
Lars Torstenson (France) was born in Sweden, but lived in Provence, France, for the last 24 years. During this time he build-up extensive winemaking experience as chief winemaker at various estates, additionally doing consulting work in Sweden, Denmark, USA, Bulgaria, Europe and the Americas. His accolades includes Winemaker of the Year (Gourmet), Vigneron de l’Annèe (Gault Millau), The Golden Glass (All tom Mat), Wine person of the Year (Munskänkarna), The Swedish Wine Academy’s Price, over 300 French and international wine medals and awards, Decanter Award, Trophé de Vinalies and third place in the Olympiade du Vin Syrah (Gault Millau). He is a member of the Swedish Wine Academy and the International Federation of Wine and Spirits Journalists and Writers.
Mischa Billing (Sweden) started her career as sommelier at the then considered best restaurant in Sweden. She established a branch of the Swedish Sommelier Association in southern Sweden and served as chairman of the Swedish National Sommelier Association. She initiated and organised the Swedish Sommeliers Competition, now a regular event. She worked at Grythyttan, the culinary faculty of the University of Örebro, where her initiative was pivotal in establishing a Bachelor’s degree in Sommellerie. She is currently employed at the University of Örebro as professor, is a wine writer for several publications and does research on the effect of aromas on ones senses.
Navneet Singh (India) has been involved with the wine industry for more than fifteen years. While studying winemaking he worked as sommelier and wine buyer for the Hyatt Hotel Group and was awarded Australia’s Best Wine List in Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards for three consecutive years. He holds qualifications in Oenology and Viticulture from the University of Adelaide, a Bachelor of Management from the University of South Australia is currently busy with his dissertation for the Masters of Wine program. He has worked extensively in the wine industry, including as winemaker, gaining experience throughout Europe and Australasia. Nav is a regular judge on more than ten international panels.
Sue van Wyk (Australia) is a qualified Cape Wine Master, wine educator, wine writer, consultant and an authority on Pinotage. She wrote her CWM thesis on Pinotage, lectured in Italy, Greece, Austria and by invitation on the Queen Elizabeth II and Royal Caribbean Line’s Legend of the Seas. She has extensive experience as an international wine judge, being on the jury of amongst others Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Zarcillo, Vino Ljubljana, Pinot Noir Contest of Switzerland, Bacchus Madrid, Concorso Vinitaly, Sydney International Wine Competition. Additionally she also judged in Canada, Argentina and Germany on invitation. She is currently the technical director and president of the jury for the Michelangelo International Wine Awards. Prior to relocating from South African to Australia, she also judged on Veritas and the Top Ten Pinotage Competition.
Kobus Gelderblom (South Africa) was employed with the KWV, the second largest brandy producer in South Africa, for 26 years. As Chief Brandy Master for ten years, he was responsible for the quality issues of the total process of brandy production. During this time, the seven products under his control, thrice received the accolade of Best Brandy in the World at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, twice at the International Spirit Challenge and the brandy trophy at the Michelangelo International Wine Competition three times. He brought home a cache of international accolades: 5 double gold medals, 40 gold medals and 78 silver medals. His newest venture, Mountain Spirit, is a continuation of what he loves most – producing brandy and sharing his passion about this golden elixir.
Dr Caroline Snyman (South Africa) is the Business Director: Spirits at Distell, the fifth largest brandy producer worldwide, and responsible for the profitability and sustainability of Distell’s spirits interest globally. Dr Snyman has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. She continued her studies with an MSc and PhD in Wine Biotechnology, both of which focused on research for the South African brandy industry into aspects determining the composition and style of SA brandy. She also qualified as a Cape Wine Master in 2004. She is currently Chair of the South African Brandy Foundation and has been judging at the International Spirits Challenge, held annually in London, since 2006.
The judging process and all results are audited by J Vermooten Chartered Accountants (SA).
Entries close 31 July. Entry forms are available from the Michelangelo International Wine Awards website, www.michelangeloawards.com. The trophy and medal winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held on 14 September. For more information contact Lorraine Immelman on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 082 556 8679.