ENTRIES for this year’s edition of the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards opened on June 1, 2020. While this year has been a tumultuous one for the South African wine and spirits industry, the team behind the awards is determined to continue its 23-year old tradition of providing producers with the opportunity to have their wines adjudicated locally by a highly experienced and respected panel of professionals from around the globe. This year, for the first time, the competition is inclusive of RTD (ready-to-drink) in addition to the traditional wine and spirits categories.
Lorraine Immelmann, founder of the awards, says: “Since the inception of the awards, we have not only sought to discover incredible wines and spirits, but to support local producers – something which is needed now more than ever. In line with this, we will be doubling our efforts to grow producers’ sales and brand recognition in order to help prevent their financial closure.”
“We are proud to have been able to provide the largest market support over the last 23 years and will continue to do so, both now and in the future,” adds Mynard Slabbert, co-owner and head of business development at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards. “We remain dedicated to increasing sales, marketing and reach for our participants. Through our strategic partnerships with sponsors in various industries, we will carry on stimulating new sales channels and building producers’ brands.”
Asked why Boplaas Family Vineyards continues to enter the awards year after year, marketing manager Rozanne Nel shares: “The Michelangelo Awards are one of the most important competitions for us because they have a wide range of different categories which we value because we produce whiskey, fortified wines, as well as red and white wines. It’s the only competition that covers all these categories.”
She continues: “The stickers also play an important role especially if people don’t know the wine products and the brand, then they look at the sticker producers place on their award-winning bottles. Michelangelo’s stickers contribute hugely to building your image and generating additional sales. Last year, we won the Bidvest Bank Top Producer Trophy, and promoting this with the aid of a Michelangelo medal sticker on all our bottles really made a massive difference for us.”
A new judge in this year’s awards, Spencer Fondaumiere, who is also vice-chairman and treasurer of the South African Sommeliers Association adds: “There are so many different stickers that a bottle can have, but this is the one that has true pedigree. It has been around for a very long time, so consumers instantly recognise it, and rightfully see it as a mark of excellence.”
All Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards’ stickers carry a QR code which, once scanned on a smartphone, gives consumers information on the product, including tasting notes and the producer’s story. To date, these have been collectively scanned in as many as 95 countries around the world.
For Boela Gerber, winemaker at Groot Constantia (which walked away with five awards in last year’s competition, including the Multi Color Corporation Grand Prix Award for Top Scoring Wine), the international judging panel is what sets the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards apart from other competitions in the country. “One of the things that has helped shape our industry since the lifting of economic sanctions in 1992 is international exposure. Through the Michelangelo Awards, we get international judges to adjudicate and give feedback on our wines from an international perspective. Winning an award from that panel is a nod which shows us that we are on the right path,” says Gerber.
The entry fee for this year’s awards will remain the same as it has for the past three years. “The Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards are the largest wine and spirits competition on the continent with the lowest entry cost and most rewards,” concludes Immelmann.
To enter, or for more information, click here.