Renowned New Zealand winemaker to judge Michelangelo awards


The Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards will welcome a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc expert to its judging panel, for the first time. Ben Glover from Marlborough, the region from which come some of the world’s best and most popular Sauvignon Blanc wines, is 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 and former chief winemaker in New Zealand for multi-national behemoth Accolade, Glover now runs his family winegrowing operation, the Glover Family Vineyards and the Zephyr range of wines. He also owns The Coterie, an organic small-batch collaborative winemaking facility for like-minded winegrowers.

Glover is a respected wine judge with 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.

Glover says he is very much looking forward to visiting South Africa to help judge the Michelangelo Wine Awards, to learn more about diversity and wine styles across all varieties and regions and to getting to know more about the country’s Sauvignon Blanc industry.

“It’s great to know that Sauvignon Blanc is – as in 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 South African wines might not be on a day-to-day basis, but I can tell the wines are well made and express a typical flavour profile – which is what 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,” he says.

“I am keen to stay on in the Cape for a few days to 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 a 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 out 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,” Immelman says.  “Michelangelo is always looking at giving producers the best judges to assess and comment on specific categories and classes so that we can present accolades and awards and give winemakers feedback on judged wines and spirits.

“We are really pleased to have a young and esteemed winemaker, and respected judge, in Ben to help 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.” – Press release