Amidst the bans and lockdown regulations of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have drawn the cream of South Africa’s wine and spirits industry for our 2020 judging panel.
The following judges have accepted invitations to this year’s Michelangelo judging panel:
Elsie’s expertise has taken her to wine regions all over the world such as Bordeaux, Cognac, Burgundy, Loire, Champagne, Rhone, and Alsace to name a few. She is a specialist in the wines of New Zealand and Australia, where she travels regularly, and in 2003 she was named as an Australasian Wine Master in a pilot programme run by the Centre for International Wine Studies at the University of Western Australia. She has also lectured at several universities in the United States, England and Australia on South African wine.
Elsie has spent several years as a professional wine judge, having participated in various international competitions including Mundus Vini in Germany, the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London and South Africa, Vinař Roku in Prague, the Prague Wine Trophy, Vino Llubljana in Slovenia and the Berliner Wein Trophy in Germany. We are honoured to have Elsie as part of the 2020 Michelangelo panel.
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.
Over the past 14 years Wilhelm has been judging in various competitions in South Africa, including Veritas, the Cape Blend tasting competition and the South African Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc competition.
His 20-year career in the South African wine industry spans every aspect thereof, backed by his experience as – among others – seasonal winemaker with Champagne Jean Vesselle in France and with Weingut Germersheimer in Rheingau, Germany. Wilhelm has also held the positions of Chief Winemaker and Cellar Manager with The House of JC le Roux in Stellenbosch for three years as well as that of Chief Winemaker for the production of red wines with Nederburg Wines in Paarl.
Danielle le Roux
Before this, Danielle completed extensive studies in the art of wine making. She holds a BSc in Agriculture, with majors in Viticulture and Oenology, from Stellenbosch University; a Cape Wine Diploma from the Cape Wine Academy; a Cape Wine Masters Diploma; and several wine judging and evaluation certificates from Stellenbosch University and the Michael Fridjhon Academy. In 2018, Danielle was named amongst the Cape Town Top 5 in the SA Wine Tasting Championship.
She has since served on several wine judging panels across South Africa and specialises in balanced full-bodied reds (with a soft spot for Merlot) and dry whites, in particular Chenin Blanc and sparkling wines. We are excited to welcome Danielle and her vast knowledge to the Michelangelo judging panel this year!
As Head Winemaker, Ben oversees the exportation of 7,000 tons of Overhex wine to 47 countries worldwide each year and is responsible for the brand’s award-winning ‘Survivor’ range. His years at Overhex have seen him travel abroad to develop an appreciation for international methods, which he exercises frequently at several local wine judging competitions. We are excited to have Ben’s well-rounded palate as part of the Michelangelo Awards this year.
In 2019, Anton was crowned “The Best Wine Taster in South Africa” during the South African Wine Tasting Championship. In addition, he has qualified numerous times to be a member of the Official Wine Tasting Team of South Africa, representing Team South Africa in France at the World Blind Tasting Championship (Championnat du monde de dégustation La RVF) from 2013 to 2019. A further accolade is that he is the first winemaker and Cape Wine Master to have won the “Springbok” title as a member of the South African Wine Tasting Team.
Anton is continually and actively involved with wine judging and wine education. He serves on numerous wine judging panels and forms part of the Education Committee of the Institute of Cape Wine Masters. We are honoured to have Anton’s renowned expertise at this year’s competition.
Morgan completed his BSc in Agriculture majoring in Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University before going to work in several esteemed estates, including Groot Constantia, Ernie Els Wines, Delaire Graff Estate, and Domaine Lejeune in Burgundy, France.
He completed his SA Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS) training in 2016 and a wine evaluation short course in 2018. In 2019, Morgan finished his IPW training and graduated from the Michael Fridjhon Wine Tasting Academy. His studies are complemented by his service on several South African judging panels, and we are thrilled to have him serve on the Michelangelo panel for the first time this year.
Before assuming this role, Gregory worked as a Sommelier at the Cape Vineyard Hotel and Signature Restaurant in Johannesburg. He has studied garagiste winemaking and wine evaluation at Stellenbosch University, and was also part of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business’ Wine Judging Academy.
We look forward to having Gregory’s deep appreciation for and understanding of wine at this years’ Michelangelo Awards.
Raymond’s interest in wine first developed in 2001, when he joined a Cape Town-based touring company that specialised in wine tours. In 2002, he was offered a position in the tasting room at Villiera Wines in Stellenbosch, where he worked two harvests in their cellar and completed the Cape Wine Academy Certificate Course. With his studies complete, Raymond started lecturing at the Cape Wine Academy in 2004, and in 2007 completed the Cape Wine Academy Diploma Course. He opted to continue his studies and in 2012, received the Groenland Wines Award for the Top Viniculture Student. In 2017, he completed the Van Rijn’s Advanced Brandy Course, and received the Top Student Award again.
Throughout this time, Raymond remained actively involved in wine judging and education, having served on numerous local panels. We are honoured to have his expertise at the Michelangelo Awards!
Michelangelo Awards is privileged to welcome Karin to our judging panel in 2020.
From here, Conrad enrolled himself in a basic course at the Cape Wine Academy to learn more about the winemaking process and completed his studies with a dissertation on the fortified wine styles of Sherry. Today, Conrad is still involved with the Academy as a lecturer, examiner, and mentor to several Cape Wine Master students. He has also been a judge on various South African panels, and we are thrilled to have his passion for fortified wine and Cabernet Sauvignon at this years’ Michelangelo Awards.
In 2001, Boela was welcomed into the Groot Constantia family where he continued to shine when he won the 2002 Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year Award. In his unceasing quest for improvement, he has worked harvests in France, Italy, Spain and the USA, with a recent sojourn at Bodega Baigorri in Rioja Alavesa. His philosophy of minimal interference has garnered many accolades and legions of admirers.
Boela joined the Cape Wine Academy as a student in 1998 and he started lecturing some three years later. He has been a member of the illustrious Cape Winemakers Guild since 2009. This year he graduated from the Institute of Cape Wine Masters.
Boela’s gravitas and history brings welcome additional prestige to the 2020 judges of the Michelangelo Wine Awards.
Over the years, Lizette would refine her palette by completing the Van Ryn Advanced Brandy Course as well as the Master Court of Sommelier Introductory course in Austria. It was during this time that she visited several winemaking countries, with Portugal being her favourite wine destination and the Bordeaux red varietals being her most intriguing cultivars. After her travels, Lizette became the Southern Representative at the Institute of Cape Wine Masters and served as a member of the Education Committee. She is currently a mentor to four Cape Wine Master students.
Having judged on several local panels, we are excited to have Lizette join the Michelangelo Awards for the first time in 2020.