This year will be the first in 24 years that the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards will not have its signature judging panel of 30 international wine and spirits experts in attendance due to international travel restrictions currently in place. “Cancelling Michelangelo this year was simply not an option,” says Lorraine Immelman, who founded the competition in 1997.
“It is critical to maintain the momentum of the annual competition, even though we are thoroughly aware of the challenges awaiting us in this year’s tasting room. Long after everyone has forgotten about the pandemic which turned the world on its head, that 2020 Michelangelo award sticker will remain a symbol of top-quality wine and spirits,” she says. “It makes no sense to skip a year which will deny our producers the opportunity of winning a 2020 Michelangelo award.”
Seventeen of South Africa’s Best to Judge
For this year’s judging panels, Michelangelo has identified the cream of South Africa’s wine and spirits industry and invited judges for their judging experience and their position and status in the industry. This means the 2020 panels will be comprised of 17 specialists, sommeliers, award-winning winemakers and no less than nine Cape Wine Masters.
It has also been announced that Dr Winnie Bowman has been appointed alongside Christine Rudman, who has been the competition’s technical director since 2014, to ensure the smooth running of the technical side of the judging processes of both the wine and the spirits categories. Winnie Bowman, who is a Cape Wine Master, member of the exclusive South African Brandy Guild and Grand Maître of the Commanderie de Bordeaux en Afrique du Sud, has been president of the Michelangelo spirits judging panel since 2017. She regularly judges wine competitions locally and abroad, in addition to being a permanent member of the spirits panels at the UK International Spirits Challenge, Concours Mondial Bruxelles (Europe and China) and the Decanter World Wine Awards.
In keeping with world drinks trends, Michelangelo also announced earlier this year that the competition is inviting entries from Ready to Drink (RTD) beverages, wines in a can as well as wines from the Old Vines Heritage project.
Entries for the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards close on 31 July 2020. To enter your wine, spirit or RTD for the chance to access new sales opportunities and gain wider brand recognition, go to https://maiwsa.co.za/