For this first time since its inception, the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards will welcome a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc expert to its judging panel. Ben Glover from Marlborough, the source of some of the world’s best and most popular Sauvignon Blanc wines, is set to join the panel of international wine adjudicators in August to assess the entries into this year’s Michelangelo Awards.
The former Chief Winemaker at Wither Hills, one of Marlborough’s pioneering Sauvignon Blanc wineries as well as former Chief Winemaker in New Zealand for multinational behemoth Accolade, Glover is now running his family winegrowing operation – Glover Family Vineyards and the Zephyr range of wines. Glover is also an owner of The Coterie, an organic small-batch collaborative winemaking facility for like-minded winegrowers.
He is a respected wine judge with over 25 years international judging experience, having chaired the Bragato Wine Show championing single-vineyard winegrowing and is the current deputy-chair of the New Zealand Wine of the Year Competition.
According to Glover, he is enormously looking forward to visiting South Africa to help judge the Michelangelo Wine Awards and understand the diversity and wine styles across all varieties and regions. And, of course, to get to know more about the country’s Sauvignon Blanc industry.
“It’s great to know that Sauvignon Blanc is – like New Zealand – your most popular and best-selling variety as well as being one of the largest categories entered into the Michelangelo Wine Awards,” says Glover.
“My exposure to the wines from South Africa might not be on a day-to-day basis, but I can tell the wines are well made and express a typical flavour profile – the kind consumers the world over love about this grape. It’s a great privilege to be asked to judge at your country’s largest wine competition and with Sauvignon Blanc being one of the leading categories, myself and the rest of the panel will have our work cut out.
“This is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to it immensely. I am keen to stay on in the Cape for a few days and catch up with some wine friends and check out the vineyards and the wineries. There has been such a lot happening in your country that South Africa has become an indispensable calling place for wine people wanting to see what is happening around the world.”
Lorraine Immelman, founder and CEO of the Michelangelo Wine and Spirits Awards, says that a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc expert was specifically sought for this year’s competition.
“This is a very important category for Michelangelo as Sauvignon Blanc is South Africa’s best-selling white wine as well as being its most profitable in the export markets,” she says. “Michelangelo is always looking at giving producers the best judges to assess and comment on specific categories and classes to allow us to not only be a presenter of accolades and awards, but also to give winemakers feedback on judged wines and spirits.
“We are really pleased to have a young and esteemed winemaker and respected judge in the person of Ben to assist us in judging Sauvignon Blancs this year,” she says. “New Zealand might currently be ahead of South Africa on the rugby field, but as far as Sauvignon Blanc goes, I dare to say our Kiwi judge is in for a real surprise.”