2019 JUDGES

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Alicia Eckert

Colombia


Born in Colombia, Alicia has been working actively in the wine business for the past 35 years. She studied Oenology in Argentina, whereafter she founded her wine trading company, Naturvinos, with offices in Hamburg, Germany and Bogota, Colomia. Alicia is a regular member of the judging panel at various international wine competitions, including Mundusvini in Germany, Portugal Wine Trophy in Portugal, Vinitaly and Concours des GRANDS VINS BLANCS du Monde.

Ben Glover

New Zealand


A respected wine judge with over 25 years international judging experience, Ben Glover is a former chief winemaker at Wither Hills, one of Marlborough’s pioneering Sauvignon Blanc wineries. He was also chief winemaker for multinational New Zealand behemoth Accolade. Today Ben runs his family winegrowing operation – Glover Family Vineyards and the Zephyr range of wines, and also owns The Coterie, an organic small-batch collaborative winemaking facility for like-minded winegrowers.

Bernard Schaefer

Germany


Bernhard has received some of the highest accolades in the spirits industry, including Master of the Quaich (2007). He is co-founder of the European Network of Spirits Experts and has earned a WSET Spirits Level 3. Bernhard became a professional spirits taster in 1997 and judges for the
IWSC in Germany and the UK, the Belgian Concours Mondial Spirits Selection and the German Craft Spirits Awards. Bernhard lectures on Rum, Gin, Whisky, Cognac and Champagne, and is contributing Editor for several Bar and Drinks magazines in the GSA countries.

Charlie Arturaola

Uruguay


Born and bred in Uruguay, Charlie Arturaola runs his wine consulting and appraising firm, Grappolo Blu, in Florida, USA. World-class sommelier, corporate wine director and lecturer, Charlie serves as a judge of wines for numerous competitions. These include the American Fine Wine Competition in Florida, the Concours Mondial du Bruxelles and International Wine and Spirit Challenge. Internationally, Charlie has been named Chevalier by the Ordre des Coteaux des Champagnes in Palm Beach and has represented L’Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux as a Formateur in Brazil’s tour.

Chris Alblas

Netherlands


Chris Alblas lives and works in Amsterdam. He has been an official taster for the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles since 2008 in Blois/Loire and Bordeaux, and is the founder of SVBE Wijnprofessionals. Chris is a qualified oenologist and chief-editor/owner of www.wijnjournaal.nl. He also lectures at the Dutch Academy and is a member of the International Federation of Wine and Spirits Journalists and Writers. Chris regularly judges for various international wine competitons, including IWSC, Concours Mondial, Concours des Vins du Val de Loire (Ligers) and the Dubrovnik FestiWine Trophy.

Eric Zwiebel

France / UK


Eric Zwiebel is one of the world’s most admired and awarded sommeliers. Born and raised in Alsace, France, Eric has been living and working in the UK since 1999, where he was admitted to the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2000. He won the UK Sommelier of the Year competition in 2004 and in 2007 was the runner-up in The World’s Best Sommelier Competition.

Gerard Devos

Belgium


Gerard Devos is a sommelier by training, and works as Professor of Oenology, wine consultant to the hospitality industry and speaker at – and collaborator of – wine workshops for the European Commission in Belgium, Switzerland and Spain. Gerard is a permanent jury member with Mondial de Bruxelles, Citadels of Wine in Bordeaux and Mundus Vini (Germany), as well as being Ambassador of Champagne Oenological Association and member of the Gilde Committee of Sommeliers of Belgium. Gerard also conducts tastings and writes for the international wine magazine In Vino Veritas.

Germain Lehody

South Africa


Germain Lehodey began his career in France as sommelier of the world-famous Tour D’Argent in Paris. Here he oversaw the three-star Michelin establishment’s wine cellar comprising 500 000 bottles. After a stint at the Le Richemond Hotel in Geneva, Germain moved to South Africa. He has worked in retail, educated students at the Wits Hotel School in Johannesburg and overseen the beverage division of Mosaic, one of the finest restaurants and wine cellars in South Africa. Currently Germain is sommelier for DGB where he is involved with training, curating wine lists and conducting wine tastings locally and abroad.

Gregory Mutambe

South Africa / Zimbabwe


Gregory Mutambe first came into contact with the world of wine while he was working as a cellar-hand in his home country of Zimbabwe. This is also how he “fell in love with wine and never looked back” and why he has become a qualified Cape Sommelier. Gregory is currently a sommelier at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. He studied Garagiste winemaking and wine evaluation with the University of Stellenbosch and was also part of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, Wine Judging Academy.

Karina Sogoyan

Russia


Karina Sogoyan holds a degree in viticulture and oenology and is a member of the Commission of Russian Wine Competitions. As a wine journalist she writes for online publications (including www.spaziovino.com) and wine magazines in Russia. As a wine buyer for Russian importers she deals mainly with wineries of the Crimea such as the Alma Valley and Massandra. Karina works as lecturer at the Institute for Wine and Sommelier School in Moscow. She is also a Member of the Union of Sommeliers and Experts of Russia and a regular judge for the Concourse Mondial du Bruxelles.

Leonardo Erazo Lynch

Chile


Having graduated from the University of Chile with a Masters degree in Agronomy and Enology, Leo traveled the world for a decade working for various estates doing research in soil science, geology and biodynamics. As part of the A los Viñateros Bravos vine-growing group in southern Chile, Leo works as owner/winemaker with two families who tend – among others – 40 year-old Cinsault vines. Among his many awards, Leo was named Chile’s Best Young Winemaker of the Year in 2016 and also among Decanter’s Top 10 South American Winemakers in 2017.

Maria Katsouli

Greece


Maria Katsouli has worked as sommelier in some of Athens’ top restaurants, including King George, Tudor Hall and Bortini’s and managed the wine lists of – among others – the famous Hotel Grecotel. Maria is also a certified olive oil taster and works in Athens as sommelier, journalist and wine educator. She is a founding member of the Greek Union of Sommeliers and of the Greek Women of Wine Association and co-founder of the Athena International Olive Oil Competition. As international wine judge Maria regularly judges at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Terravino and The International wine competition of Thessaloniki.

Marin Berovic

Slovenia


Professor Marin Berovič is an OIV Commissioner and Chairman of European Wine Competitions, judging at and overseeing wine competitions around the world. Over the past three decades Marin has been lecturing on various aspects of wine making and wine appreciation on every continent. These include, Bacchus (Spain) Mundus Vini, Vinitaly, Concours Mondial du Bruxelles and the Sauvignon Forum, Czech Republic. He works as Professor of Biotechnology and Bio-engineering in the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of the University of Ljubljana.

Michel Blanc

France


Michel is director of the Federation des Producteurs de Châteauneuf-du-Pape (FEDCN) in southern France. He is an experienced international wine judge who has served on panels for Mundus Vini, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and Grenache du Monde, and he joins Michelangelo for the fourth time this year.⠀

Miguel Angel Enocata Martin

Spain


Miguel Chan

South Africa / Mauritius


Miguel Chan is Group Sommelier for the Tsogo Sun Hotels group.
Hailing from Mauritius, Miguel’s palate has been honed by years of experience in the hospitality industry and judging on many wine competitions including the Absa Top 10 Pinotage Trophy Competition. He is one of a few persons working in South Africa to have been certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers in London.

Miroslav (Mirek) Majer

Czech Republic


Mirek is CEO and owner of award-winning winery Davinus in south Moravia, as well as a seasoned international wine judge, member of several foreign and domestic wine competitions and chairman of the international juries of various competitions. Mirek is also chairman of the committee of the Czech Republic’s national wine competition, The Wine Salon. He has been director and manager of the OIV Sauvignon Forum in the Czech Republic since 2008.

Nuno Jorge

Portugal


Nuno Filipe Jorge is a wine educator, sommelier, wine advisor and international wine judge. He is also the founder of Cacao di Vine which produces wine-filled chocolates, and has worked in a number of Michelin star restaurants as sommelier. Nuno is a regular judge at international competitions such as the Berlin Wine Trophy or the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles where he won the 2018 Taster’s Benchmark Award.

René van Hoven

Netherlands


René van Hoven is a spirits specialist with his main interest being in rum. He started his career as a fully qualified chef and later obtained degrees in Oenology and teaching. This led him to study spirits and he was awarded a Liquorist degree in 2000, the highest in the Netherlands. Since 2000 he has been judging spirits all over the world and now he is part of the jury of many annual competitions including Rum Renaissance, IWSC, Rumfest Berlin and Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.

Roderic Proniewski

Poland


Roderic Proniewski grew up in Provence, France but lives in Singapore from where he owns and runs a wine import and distribution company, Asia Wine Network, and regularly sits on the juries of international competitions such as the IWSC. Roderic’s credits include Chevalier of “L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne”, Prudhomme de la Jurade de St Emilion and Membership of the International Wine and Food Society.

Rodrigo Bravo

Spain


Rodrigo Bravo is a oenologist who holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Göttingen in Germany. He relocated to Spain where Rodrigo worked as winemaker, export manager and MD for among others – Spanish producers Castell-Miquel and Bodega Puenta del Ea since 2014. For the past ten years Rodrigo has been invited on a regular basis as judge for international wine competitions such as Mundus Vini and IWSC. In 2017 he was inducted as a Member of Merit to the Merida Wine Brotherhood in Spain. Currently Rodrigo runs his specialized wine agency in Haro, La Rioja.

Sandy Harper

South Africa


Sandy Harper is a Cape Wine Masters and also holds a Master’s Degree in Home Economics from Stellenbosch University. Sandy founded and manages the Old Mutual Executive Wine Club, one of the most exclusive wine clubs in South Africa. During her studies at the Cape Wine Academy she won the La Motte Award for Excellence in Viticulture. In 2013 she received the ‘Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne’ and in 2014 she was inducted into the ‘Grand Conceil du Vin de Bordeaux’. Her judging experience includes the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.

Sergio Correa

Chile


With a life-time of experience in the various fields of oenology, Sergio’s passion for his craft has been awarded many times – among others, he has been bestowed the Chevalier of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin in Bourgogne; Membership of the Brotherhood of Saint-Emilion; The Knight’s Cross of Merit awarded by the French government (1997) and the Viticultural Merit Award for Best Chilean Winemaker (2002). Sergio produces his own range of award-winning sparkling wine. He is a winemaker, speaker, trainer, consultant, quality controller, researcher and international wine judge.

Simon Cassina

Italy


Simon Cassina is a member of the Institute of Wines and Spirits (AIWS) and a WSET Certified Educator. He started his career at Castel Group in 2006 and was later appointed sommelier at the 5 star Dorchester Hotel in London. In 2013 he worked as a Sommelier for New Street Wine Shop and as a sales executive and assistant buyer for Mondial Wine Ltd. Simon is a consultant to the hospitality and retail sectors and sources international wines for buyers in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany. He provides industry training and regularly judges at Mundus Vini and Sommelier Wine Awards, IWC and IWSC,.

Stephen Beal

USA


Steve Beal was the senior brand educator for the whisky portfolio of Diageo North America for over 15 years. Since 2000 he has served as an international spirits judge, broadcast presenter, spirits journalist and as a master accreditation educator with the United States Bartenders Guild. In 2015, he was inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame. He was also recognised by the Scotch whisky industry in 2010 when he was inducted as a life member into the Keepers of the Quaich. Since retiring as senior master of whisky at Diageo in February 2015, he has actively continued to serve the distilled spirits industry as a consultant.

Thomas Ling

Malaysia


Thomas Ling is Malaysia’s first certified sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers, UK), an accredited International Burgundy and Bordeaux educator with the BIVB & CIVB, France, respectively, and is both a Certified Specialist of Wine and Spirits with the Society of Wine Educators in the USA. He is also a certified Sake educator and Whisky Ambassador and a regular speaker for industry seminars and judge in various international wine and spirits competitions, including the IWC and IWSC, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, FBAT International Wine Challenge and Vinitaly. Thomas also consults for wine and spirits importers and hotel resort groups in Hong Kong.

Tinashe Nyamudoka

South Africa / Zimbabwe


Born and raised in Harare Zimbabwe, Tinashe Nyamoduko moved to Cape Town in early 2008. Today he is one of the country’s most famous sommeliers and works for the world-renowned Test Kitchen Restaurant in Cape Town. Tinashe completed the South African Wine, Certificate Wine, Wines of the World and Wine & Food courses from the Cape Wine Academy. In 2013 he won the Wine Steward title from The Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge. As a wine judge, Tinashe is a member of Team Zimbabwe which participated in the World Blind Wine Tasting Championships in 2017 and again in 2018.

Tuğba Altınöz

Turkey


Tuğba Altınöz is a wine consultant, educator and writer who also grows her own vines. She runs her own wine consultancy company based in İstanbul and consults various wineries in Turkey, while also running bespoke tasting sessions and wine courses for wine consumers and wine professionals. Tugba is an international wine judge who judges regularly at international wine competitions in Europe. She is a WSET diploma holder and is currently continuing her studies at Institute of Masters of Wine as a Second stage MW student.

Winnie Bowman

South Africa


Winnie Bowman is a well-known wine writer, judge and educator who is as knowledgeable on spirits as she is on wine. A Cape Wine Master, she is also a biomedical scientist with a PhD in Education. As chair of the spirits panel, Winnie has been a regular at the Michelangelo Wine & Spirits Awards since 2015. Winnie excels as an ambassador for South African brandy, something she is most passionate about. She is head of the Commanderie de Bordeaux in South Africa, the local chapter of this prestigious organisation based in St Emilion and committed to promoting the culture and prestige of Bordeaux’s wines.

Yair Kornblum Koren

Israel


Yair Kornblum Koren is a wine and spirits journalist and an experienced wine judge in international competitions such as Mundus Vini, Concours Mondial du Bruxelles, Asian Wine & Spirits, Spirits Selection and Vinitaly. Yair is a known wine broadcaster and writer contributing for almost two decades to the Israeli public radio (IBA) and The Israeli Wine & Gourmet Magazine – WINET. He is co-author and editor in chief of The Comprehensive Guide to Israeli Wines, published recently in Hebrew and English. For his activity as journalist, Yair was awarded the decoration of Cavaliere by the President of Italy.