Michelangelo Entries Playing it Fast and Furious

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It is raining wine, brandy and craft spirits. Entries for the 21st edition of the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards, South Africa’s largest drinks competition, are inundating the competition headquarters at the Longridge Estate between Stellenbosch and Somerset-West.

“It is almost overwhelming, but in a pleasantly exciting way,” says Lorraine Immelman, MD and founder of the Michelangelo Awards. “We are seeing entries pouring in from established, classic names in the South African wine industry as well as the new breed of trendy newcomers. The craft spirits section is going to be very well represented it seems, and then there are the stacks of pot-still and other brandies piling into the store-room in anticipation of the judging process, which is set to begin mid-August.

Immelman says the enthusiasm Michelangelo is generating from the industry this year can be ascribed to a number of factors.

“We are 21 years old this year, so the reputation of the brand makes it the primary wine competition at which producers wish to showcase their wines, craft spirts and brandies,” she says. “The fact that our judging panels are primarily made up of international judges gives us a leading edge on other competitions, and producers want their products scrutinised by these discerning palates.”

Two fantastic new developments in this year’s rendition of the Michelangelo Wine and Spirits Awards have also gripped the imagination.

The first one is a technological world first in the wine and spirits world.

“Using various experts in the field of digital marketing, Michelangelo has embarked on a ground-breaking project the likes of what the industry has not seen before,” says Immelman. “From this year the coveted Michelangelo awards stickers  - from silver and gold to double gold and platinum, all the way up to trophy award stickers -  will carry a QR code. Once scanned on the smartphone of the retail, restaurant or hotel customer, the code will allow access to succinct and varied information on the product, including tasting notes, the producer’s story as well as guide as to where the specific product can be purchased and/or ordered.”

This initiative is complemented by the introduction of two new sponsors to the Michelangelo Wine and Spirits Awards, namely the iconic hotel group Tsogo Sun and airline Airlink.

“Tsogo Sun and Airlink are two of the leading brands in the South African hospitality industry, of which wine and spirits are an integral part,” says Immelman. “With their partnering of the Michelangelo International Awards we have the opportunity to unlock value and create further opportunities for entrants to the competition and their products, the greater wine and spirits loving public as well as, of course, these valued new sponsors.

“Together with Airlink and Tsogo Sun Michelangelo will be in a position to literally spread its wings and open doors throughout South and Southern Arica.”

This sponsorship will see wines entered into Michelangelo automatically selected for on-board service on Airlink. Tsogo Sun is one of the South African hospitality industry’s largest wine purchasers, exposing hundreds of thousands of people to its wine offering through 14 entertainment destinations and over 100 hotels. As a Michelangelo sponsor, Tsogo Sun will use its extensive marketing channels to promote the competition as well as the producers.

One of the most exciting developments will see Montecasino in Johannesburg hosting a public showcase of Michelangelo winners in November this year at phenomenally exhibiting and accommodation rates for producers showing their products.

“These value-adds to entrants have definitely helped to bolster entries,” says Immelman, “and we look forward to showing the industry that Michelangelo is the one competition of its type where the entrants’ wine and spirits brands receive top priority.”

Entries for this year’s Michelangelo Wine and Spirits Competition close on 31 July. See www.michelangeloawards.com for details.



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