The Michelangelo International Wine Awards
A short history and background
The Michelangelo is unique in South Africa, in that only internationally accredited wine judges serve on the judging panels. (During the past 16 years more than 160 experts from 36 countries have served on the judging panels.) Judges are hand-picked from around the globe for their international experience, their judging proficiency as well as their credibility as wine makers, wine buyers, sommeliers and wine writers. This has ensured goodpublicity world-wide for our award-winning wines over the years as articles on the Michelangelo winners have, over the years, appeared in the electronic mediaand consumer magazines as far as North Europe, South America, Japan and India.
The owner and director of the Michelangelo is Lorraine Immelman, who also founded the company in 1997. She identified a need for South African wines to be adjudicated by international expertsin South Africa, and, in consultation with international professionals in the wine industry, established the Michelangelo International Wine Awards.
The main aim remains the annualidentification of the wines which will fare well in world markets. As a result local producers have, for many years, used the Michelangelo as a guide for their exports.
OIV Judging system
The Michelangelo has adapted the international100-point judging system of the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine).This system is considered very accurate as it allows each entry to be judged according to the varietals characteristicsbased on sight, smell and taste.
The Michelangelo has experienced exceptional support among local producers (and increasingly from international producers) and is considered one of the top wine contests in South Africa with high credibility and transparency.Producers entering their wines appreciate the neutrality of the international judging panel as well as the fact that winesreceive international recognition through the judges in their respective countries after the competition.
In October 1997 an international jury arrived in South Africa for the first year, then held in Johannesburg. For this first competition, 146 entries were received. Although this was a slow start, the organisers were confident that the initial support reflected the local wine industry's endorsement of the new competition and what it stood and still stands for. Entries have since increased steadily by an average of 30% per year to 187 the following year, 301 in 1999, 423 in 2000. In 2003 entries broke the 1 000-mark with 1 056 entries in that year.
Since 2009 entries have annually reached and surpassed the 1 500 mark.
Achieving new levels of challenge:
The 2003 competition marked the start of a new era for the competition when the Michelangelo International Wine Awards was moved to Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, the main wine producing area of South Africa. During that year the organisers introduced the first of a number of trophies, namely the Sue van Wyk trophy for the best Pinotage and a trophy for the best Garagiste wine entered into the competition. Currently a total of 15 trophies are awarded in a variety of categories:
- CCL Label Grand Prix Trophy
- Tonnelleri de Mercurey Trophy for the Best Bordeaux Blend, sponsored by RX Group
- Best International Entry Trophy
- RX South Africa Trophy for the Most Innovative Wine
- Best Organic Wine Trophy
- Best Garagiste Entry Trophy
- Sue van Wyk Pinotage Trophy
- ToneleriaNaçional Trophy for Best Coffee/Mocha Style Pinotage
- Grotto Top Producer Trophy
- Golden Oldie Trophy
- Michelangelo Brandy Trophy
- AfriRackBest Dessert Wine Trophy
- Best Fairtrade Red Wine Trophy sponsored by Pick & Pay
- Best Fairtrade White Wine Trophy sponsored by Pick & Pay
- African Cellar Suppliers Trophy for Best MCC
Around the wine world there is a saying that goes, "Stickers sell wine", and this certainly rings true when one considers that sales of silver, gold, double gold and trophy stickersannually reach almost 5 million!
The unique 3D-Michelangelo award stickers are printed by the Michelangelo’s main sponsor, CCL Label, and may be purchased for application to award-winning wines sold both locally as well as those destined for export markets.
Opening up to international entries:
In 2003 the organisers were approached by a number of foreign producers who wished to enter their wines in the Michelangelo for adjudication by the international jury. The competition wasopened to international entries and in that year 16 foreign wines were entered. Among them was the Australian Wilson's Oak Chardonnay 2001 which was awarded one of only 19 Grand D'Or medals in total in 2003. A further three international entries, namely from Italy, France and Australia were awarded silver medals in that year.
During the years that followed, international producers continued to enter small volumes of wine in the Michelangelo, although it became increasingly expensive to send wine to the southern tip of Africa in small volumes for entry into wine competitions. As a result the organisers have been targeting South African importers of foreign wine, which erseasproducers already in the country and received a total of 42 international entries in 2012.
However, the Michelangelo International Wine Awards remains on a par with other foreign wine competitions where international juries judge local wines, and should therefore be an option for producers wanting their wine adjudicated by foreign authorities.
The Michelangelo International Wine Awards of South Africa is a totally independent competition and is mainly self-funding. Our primary objective remains to support local wine makers who are targeting international markets for exports.
|We are confident that a wine which has been awarded a top medal by 15 international wine experts will be well received in international markets, and this remains our strength and our claim to exclusivity and viability.|