2022 JUDGES

Click here to find out more about the judging process.

Otto Batzer

Austria


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

Otto also works as an international tour guide, journalist and freelance writer for a number of Austrian and Swiss travel publications and is a member of the Fédération Internationale des Journalistes et Ecrivains des Vins et Spiritueux (FIJEV).

Georgi Mihov

Bulgaria


Georgi is a well know and highly respected Bulgarian wine professional. He is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers, has been named Bulgaria’s Best Sommelier and works as Editor-in-chief of SommelierBG. Georgi also works as a wine educator and regularly judges on the panel of various international wine competitions.
such as Mundus Vini, Decanter, Berliner Wein Trophy and Mondial des Pinots.

Liz Palmer

Canada


Liz Palmer is an award-winning author, wine journalist, Dame Chevalier de Coteaux de Champagne, wine judge and was named a Sommelier Choice Awards 2022 Top Global Wine Influencer. Liz sits on the Board of the Federation Internationale des Journalistes et Ecrivains des Vins et Spiritueux. (FIJEV). She is the founding President of Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario and Women in Wine Talks (Global online platform).

Karel Novotný

Czech Republic


Oenologist and production director at Winery Štěpán Maňák, Karel has been trained in the selection of proficient sensory assessors for wine analyses. He is currently focusing on the production of sparkling wine and bottle fermentation. He has judged on the panels of various competitions around the world, including Israel, UK, USA, France, Spain, Germany and Hungary.

Thomas Rydberg

Denmark


Owner and chief editor for magazines DinVinGuide and Whisky&. Winewriter for largest online newspaper Ekstra Bladet. Organizer of the largest wine and spirits fairs in Copenhagen. Holds a WSET Diploma. Judge in many international competitions.

Charlie Arturaola

France


Born and bred in Uruguay, world-class sommelier Charlie Arturaola runs his wine consulting in Florida, USA. Here he lectures, conducts educational tastings, acts as an expert appraiser for insurance companies and consults with foreign importers. Charlie regularly serves as a wine judge for, among others, the American Fine Wine Competition, Concours Mondial du Bruxelles and the IWSC.


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.

Bernard Schaefer

Germany


Bernhard has been a panel member at various spirits competitions in Europe, and since 2010 in the US. In 1997 he became a professional spirits taster, and since then has served on the spirits panels of the IWSC in Germany and the UK, the Belgian Concours Mondial Spirits Selection, the German and the Miami Rumfestival and the German Craft Spirits Awards.


Bernhard lectures on various spirits (specifically whisky) and has received some of the highest accolades in the industry, including Keeper of the Quaich (1996), and Master of the Quaich (2007). He is also a co-founder of the European Network of Spirit Experts and has earned a WSET Spirits Level 3.

Michele Shah

Italy


Michèle has been promoting Italian wines for more than 30 years. A noted marketer, writer, communicator and judge, she works with producers across Italy. Her “Speedtasting®” B2B tastings have helped hundreds of producers find new export markets. A great lover of Italian gastronomy and heritage, Michele also organises wine tours for businesses and enthusiasts. These allow her to share her love for and knowledge of Italian culture, Italian wine and connections with inspiring figures in Italian wine.

Chris Alblas

Netherlands


Chris is an oenologist by training one of Michelangelo’s longest serving judges. He regularly judges for various international wine competitons, including Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and Mundus Vini (Biofach). Chris is the founder of the Societas Vinum Bonum Est, better known as “SVBE Wijnprofessionals” and chief-editor and owner of www.wijnjournaal.nl.


He lectures at the Dutch Academy, is a member of the International Federation of Wine and Spirits Journalists and Writers as well as a member of the SDEN Board of Examiners.


Chris works as importer of organic and biodynamic wines in Europe and has made presentations in Germany (export meeting Mundus Vini) and France (Millesime Bio in Montpellier) on the subject.

Wojciech Gogolinski

Poland


Wine writer, journalist and editor, Wojciech is a recognized international and Polish wine judge. He also works as senior editor of “Czas Wina” wine magazine, has written multiple books on wine and lectures on wine and spirits at two Polish universities.

Heidi Duminy

South Africa


Heidi is a Cape Wine Master and was appointed principal of the Cape Wine Academy in 2020. She is a wine marketing and communications specialist recognised for her particular expertise in Cap Classique and Champagne.

Wilhelm Pienaar

South Africa


Wilhelm is managing director and head winemaker at Hermanuspietersfontein, a small family-owned vineyard situated in Sondagskloof on South Africa’s Cape South Coast. He is a Double Master in Agriculture (Msc Agric (Viticulture) – University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and Master degree (Wine Marketing and Business) – SupArgo, ENSAM, Montpellier, France). Wilhelm has been tasting and judging in competitions regularly since 2005.

Elsie Pells

South Africa


A Cape Wine Masters and shareholder of House of Wine in Czechia, a company importing and selling South African wine, which was started in 2009. She is technically responsible for their own brand wines as well as selecting other brands worldwide for the portfolio. Elsie writes, educates about wine and has judged on international panels such as International Wine and Spirits Competition, Mundus Vini and Prague Vinař Roku for many years.

Andrej Ondrejmiska

Slovakia


Andrej is director of Wines from Slovakia and international wine judge CMB, Mundus Vini. Owner of Zi Dobre company, producer of Vitis vinifera polyphenols. Andrej also holds a Diploma in Agricultural Engineering.

Jesús Bernad Dueñas

Spain


Jesús is an oenologist, sommelier and winemaker. He owns and directs the on-line magazine, PlanetaHedonista.com and is the author of the book Spirits, The 150 Best Spirits and a travel book: Rumbo al Trópico. Jesús also works as Global Wine Ambassador at the Ribera del Duero winery, Bodegas Arzuaga in Spain.

Arthur Naegele

Switzerland


A respected expert on distilled spirits worldwide. Arthur’s expertise and services ranges from production to consumption, be it neat, as a cocktail or paired with food. He is a sought-after trainer, speaker, advisor and judge for alcoholic beverages.

Ivan Dixon

UK


Former head spirits buyer at both Harvey Nichols and Enotria&Coe, Ivan is an experienced judge at the IWSC, ISC, The Spirits Masters, Concours Mondial and London Spirits Competition. He works as drinks consultant in the UK and is co-founder of Procera Gin.

Laura Clay

UK


Wine Educator; Accredited Bordeaux, Rioja and Cava Educator, Champagne Ambassador and IWC senior judge. Long-standing member and past chairman of the Association of Wine Educators. Creator of Love Wine Festival.

Winnie Bowman

South Africa


Technical Director

Moshe Cohen

Israel


Born in Israel, Moshe now lives in the UK, where he works as a wine judge, wine maker, trader and wine writer. He is an associate judge for the IWC and became a member of the Circle of Wine Writers in 2020. Working to further his knowledge and qualifications, Moshé is currently completing his WSET.


Moshé began writing about wine in 1996, with a weekly wine column for the Israeli financial magazine Globes. He has also contributed various wine articles to the Gastronomic magazine Al-Hashulhan and appeared as a guest contributor for Purple Pages and The Wine Beat.

René van Hoven

Netherlands


René is a spirits specialist from the Netherlands, with a main interest in Rum. René obtained a Liquorist degree in 2000, the highest in the Netherlands. He also has a degree in Oenology and Viticulture.


He is the author of a book on rum: Journey to above the Clouds, and co-author of Rum Rebels, a book focusing on female Rum master blenders. He also writes for several publications, including Whisky Passion, Drinks international and Just-Drinks.

Since 2000 René has been judging in spirits competitions around the globe, including Rum Renaissance, IWSC, Rumfest Berlin and Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. He also lectures in spirits in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the USA and Taiwan.

Achim Doerr

Germany


Achim Dörr is a wine judge and consulting winemaker from Germany. He has worked in all major wine producing regions around the world for the past 20 years, sourcing, blending and consulting for producers. Achim is also involved in various sustainability projects around the globe, including South Africa, as well as his own quality assurance company, specialising in wine. He has recently judged on the panels of Vinalis (Paris), Rosé du Monde (Cannes) and IWC (London).

Nuno Filipe Graça Jorge

Portugal


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 an international judge, and won the 2018 Taster’s Benchmark Award at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.

Johann Fourie

South Africa


Johann Fourie is chief winemaker at Benguela Cove Wine Estate in Walker Bay, South Africa and Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate situated in Horsham, West Sussex, England where the focus is the production of patrician sparkling wine. Johann’s accolades include SAWI Winemaker of the Year and the South African Young Wine Show’s Wine of the Year Trophy. In 2015 Johann was also named Diners Club Winemaker of the Year.
Johann holds a diploma in Oenology and Cellar Technology, a degree in Agriculture and a certificate in Wine Business Management. He also completed a course in Wine Business Management and Leadership Development at the University of Adelaide in Melbourne, Australia.
Johann has served on judging panels for a number of years, including the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

Greg Mutambe

South Africa


Greg hails from Zimbabwe, where he worked as started his journey with wine at local winery, Mukuyu Wines. He heads the awarded wine programme at Cape Town’s Twelve Apostles Hotel, and has been serving on the judging panels of a number of wine competitions for the past two decades. He also mentors sommeliers, conducts professional tastings


He has completed various courses in winemaking and wine evaluation at the University of Stellenbosch and was also part of the Wine Judging Academy at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.

Johan Venter

South Africa


Johan Venter joined Distillers Corporation in 1990 and was appointed director of Primary Production in 2009. His responsibilities included overseeing the distillation, maturation, production and blending of wines, ciders and distilled spirits products. At the time of his retirement, Johan was head of Distell’s Centre of Excellence: Intrinsic.
As Master Crafter this included ensuring that all Distell’s product’s intrinsic quality is of a Global standard.

Marin Berovic

Slovenia


Professor Marin Berovič is an OIV Commissioner and Chairman of European Wine Competitions, and adjudicates and oversees judging panels at wine competitions around the world. He lectures on wine making and wine appreciation on every continent, while also judging on wine competitions around the world.

Per Karlsson

Sweden


Per is editor and journalist at BKWine Magazine and contributor to Forbes.com. Per is co-author of no less than eleven books on wine. Co-founder of BKWine Tours, a world leading wine tour operator. Wine judge in numerous competitions worldwide.

Richard Phister

Switzerland


Richard is an international consultant winemaker in European and other countries. He is also a trained perfumer, lecturing on the subject and specializing in the subject of Aromas. Author of the book Les Parfums du Vin

Serhat Narsap

UK


Serhat established his wine trading company, Sonvino, in London in 2015. Sonvino Ltd imports and distributes unusual artisan wines from boutique producers in Italy, Turkey, Spain, Portugal and France. Having completed WSET4, Serhat is also a world traveller – he has visited more than 850 cities and in excess of 90 countries around the globe.

Geoffrey Dean

UK


Geoffrey Dean is an IWC and Decanter judge, and has been writing on wine since 2010 for a number of publications, including The Drinks Business, The Buyer, Harpers, Falstaff and winepages.com. Geoffrey regularly travels throughout the southern hemisphere and writes on wine in the region – notably in South Africa and Australia.