2020 JUDGES

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Lana Khariton

Italy


Joining the 2020 Michelangelo judging panel in August will be oenologist-sommelier Lana Khariton from Italy.

Lana was born in Russia, and lives and works in the northern Italian city of Treviso as wine journalist/blogger and wine educator. Lana is a regular judge at various regional and international wine competitions in Europe, including being a permanent member of the Romania judging panel at the International Wine Festival in Bucharest and a regular member of the Tasting Commission’s National Wine Competition Douja d’Or Award.

Lana holds a Masters degree in Energy Engineering management as well as various wine-related qualifications in viticulture, wine appreciation and oenology. She has been awarded a diploma in Viticulture and Oenology Sciences and Technologies from the University of Padua. Lana also speaks five languages, including French and Romanian. The Michelangelo team looks forward to meeting you, Lana!

Ivan Dixon

United Kingdom


Our spirits producers have the privilege of having their products evaluated by some of the world’s top spirits connoisseurs as we carefully select the creme of the crop from judges around the world. To this end we consider ourselves honoured to announce the confirmation of young dynamo, Ivan Dixon, to the 2020 panel!

Ivan was recently appointed Head Spirits Buyer of London beverage giant, Enotria&Coe, where he manages a portfolio of more than 2500 products. He has a WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits and since 2002 has served on the judging panels of international drinks competitions such as the Concours Mondial’s Spirits Selection panel and the IWSC. He is also a regular contributor to a number of high-level drinks publications such as Spirits Business and The Drinks Report.

Having worked as wine and spirits buyer for luxury British department store chain, Harvey Nichols for the last decade, Ivan brings a wealth of knowledge to the Michelangelo about which spirits make the world go round! We look forward to welcoming you to the judging panel, Ivan!

Spencer Fondaumiere

South Africa


Joining the Michelangelo judging panel for the first time this year, is Kenyan-born Spencer Fondaumiere. Spencer is an internationally certified sommelier (Dip Association de la Sommellerie Internationale) with a Level 2 certification from the South African Sommeliers Association, where he also currently serves as vice chairman and treasurer. In 2016 Spencer was a semi finalist in the African Edition of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) for the title of World’s Best Sommelier.

Spencer has achieved a WSET Level 3 certificate, and is a qualified chef and pastry chef.

Spencer has judged on several South African wine competitions including the Amorim MCC Challenge, the Chenin Top 10 and the Ultra Value Wine Challenge. He currently works as a wine brand manager and consults to several East Africa hospitality outlets for the importation of South African wine.

Otto Batzer

Austria


Otto Batzer is based in Vienna, from where he primarily works as an international tour guide, journalist and freelance writer for a number of Austrian and Swiss travel publications.

Otto has been a permanent judge at The International Wine Challenge (AWC) Vienna since 2008. He also regularly adjudicates at the Mondial du Chasselas in Switzerland and frequently judges at regional events in the USA and Austria.

Otto is a member of the Fédération Internationale des Journalistes et Ecrivains des Vins et Spiritueux (FIJEV).

As a tour operator and guide Otto focuses on organizing and guiding wine tours for wine enthusiasts, restaurateurs and wine professionals to diverse wine regions of the world, including regular visits to the wineries of South Africa. These aid as inspiration for his articles which also deal with the history and culture of the world’s wine regions, wineries and winemakers. We look forward to welcoming you to the Michelangelo judging panel!

Nuno Filipe Graça Jorge

Portugal


For the second time we welcome Nuno Jorge, a wine educator, sommelier, wine advisor and international wine judge from Lisbon. He has worked in a number of Michelin star restaurants as sommelier and was nominated in 2016 as Sommelier of the Year by Portugal’s Wine Magazine. Nuno is a regular judge at international competitions such as the Berlin Wine Trophy and the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles where he won the 2018 Taster’s Benchmark Award.

Guenhaël Kessler

France


Guenhaël qualified as oenologist from the university of Bordeaux in 1995 and currently works as consultant in the Rhone Valley for the IOC (Institut Oenologique de Champagne).

Having had stints as winemaker in Bordeaux, the USA, New Zealand and South Africa,
Guenhaël has since established himself as an international oenology consultant, working for over 40 wineries in France and the USA.

For the past 20 years he has also worked as wine consultant in the south Rhone Valley, based in Chateauneuf du Pape.

Guenhaël is a regular judge for the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and looks forward to his first appointment as judge for Michelangelo.

Chris Alblas

Netherlands


Chris lives and works in Arnhem and is one of Michelangelo’s longest serving judges. In 2019 he was one of five people awarded a silver “M” from Michelangelo in recognition of his many years of service. Chris has been an official taster for the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB) since 2000 and is panelchair of the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon. in 2013 he received a golden pin from the organisers of the CMB.

He regularly judges for various international wine competitons, including Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (also for Sauvignon), Mundus Vini (also the Biofach) and the Dubrovnik FestiWine Trophy.

As qualified oenologist Chris is a lecturer at the Dutch Academy, and also the founder of the Dutch Societas Vinum Bonum Est, better known as “SVBE Wijnprofessionals”.

Chris is a member of the editorial committee of the Dutch Wine Academy and the FIJEV (International Federation of Wine and Spirits Journalists and Writers), and writes for retail magazine, Drinks Slijtersvakblad (magazine for retailers/wineshops, importers, “caviste”). He is chief-editor and owner of www.wijnjournaal.nl.

Chris is an importer of organic and biodynamic wines in Europe and has presented papers in Germany (export meeting Mundus Vini) and France (Millesime Bio in Montpellier) on the subject.

Bernhard Schäfer

Germany


Since qualifying as a professional spirits taster in 1997, Bernhard Schäfer has been invited to judge on sprits panels around the world, including the IWSC in Germany and the UK, the Belgian Concours Mondial Spirits Selection, the German and the Miami Rum Festival and the German Craft Spirits Awards.
Bernhard has been a member of the Michelangelo spirits panel since 2018.
He has been awarded some of the global spirits industry’s highest accolades, including Master of the Quaich (2007) and is co-founder of the European Network of Spirits Experts. Bernhard has also achieved a WSET Spirits Level 3.
Bernhard lectures on Rum, Gin, Whisky, Cognac and Champagne, and is contributing Editor for several Bar and Drinks magazines in the GSA countries.

Serhat Narsap

Turkey


Serhat Narsap hails from Turkey, but has lived and worked in the UK for most of his life. He set up his wine importing and distributing company, Sonvino Ltd, in London in 2015. “We import and distribute unusual wines from boutique producers in Italy, Turkey, Spain, Portugal and France,” he says.

Serhat completed his WSET Diploma in January 2019, and regularly judges at international wine and spirits competitions around the globe, including Judge at the International Wine Challenge and the International Wine and Spirit Challenge, Mundus Vini and Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Serhat has to be the ultimate global traveller, having visited more than 850 cities and 90 countries around the world. He also speaks seven languages.

Having worked as civil engineer for more than 15 years, Serhat’s curiosity into – and love for – good wine, is what finally pushed him into living his passion today. We look forward to welcoming Serhat to the Michelangelo judging panel in August!

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