“It is almost overwhelming, but in a really exciting way – we see it in the congestion on the website’s on-line registration portal,” says Lorraine Immelman, MD and founder of the Michelangelo Awards. “We are finding entries coming in from established, classic names in the South African wine industry as well as the new breed of trendy newcomers. The craft spirits section is going to be very well represented it seems, and then there are the stacks of pot-still and other brandies piling into the store-room in anticipation of the judging process, which is set to begin mid-August.
Lorraine says the enthusiasm Michelangelo is generating from the industry this year can be ascribed to a number of factors.
“We are 23 years old this year, so the reputation of the brand makes it the primary wine competition at which producers wish to showcase their wines, craft spirts and brandies,” she says. “The fact that our judging panels are primarily made up of international judges gives us a leading edge on other competitions, and producers want their products scrutinised by these discerning palates.”
One of the competition’s recent successes the implementation of QR technology on Michelangelo award-winning stickers to further the digital footprint of the product concerned.
Since 2017 all Michelangelo awards stickers carry a QR code. Once scanned on a smartphone, the code will allow access to succinct and varied information on the product, including tasting notes, the producer’s story as well as guide as to where the specific product can be purchased and/or ordered.
This initiative was complemented by the introduction of two new sponsors to the Michelangelo Wine and Spirits Awards, namely the iconic hotel group Tsogo Sun Hotels and airline SA Airlink.
These are two leading brands in the South African hospitality industry, of which wine and spirits are an integral part. With their partnering of the Michelangelo International Awards producers have the opportunity for their award-winning products be poured on Airlink’s flights and to be included in the winelists of the Tsogo Sun Hotel group’s hotels and lodges.
This year Bidvest has also come to the fore as a leading sponsor of Michelangelo through its Premier Lounge and Car Rental divisions. Besides sponsoring various awards trophies, Bidvest Premier Lounges is offering Michelangelo award-winning wines and spirits at its eleven airport lounges. Bidvest Car Rental has made vehicle hire accessible to wine producers and consumers at specially discounted rates.
“These value-adds to entrants have definitely helped to bolster entries,” says Lorraine, “and we look forward to showing the industry that Michelangelo is the one competition which adds real value to the award-winning medals.”
Entries for this year’s Michelangelo Wine and Spirits Competition close on 31 July.