Chairman of the judges at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. Author, co-author and contributor to a number of wine books including The Oxford Companion to Wine, The Global Wine Encyclopaedia, and Platter’s South African Wine Guide. Recipient of the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite Agricole (France). Judge at numerous competitions including the Australian National Wine Show, the Six Nations Wine Challenge (Australia) as well as benchmark tastings in France, the United States, Chile and South Africa. First international co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge (2007). Visiting Professor of Wine Business at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business and head of the Wine Judging Academy run in association with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. Winner of the Louis Roederer International Wine Columnist of the Year award (2012).
On 2 February 2021, Michael Fridjhon was named the recipient of the Wine Appreciation and Wine Advancement Award. The criteria for this award include noticeable contributions towards the image of wine and its responsible use, as well as building the image of the South African wine industry as a whole through their sphere of influence.
South African Judges
Winemaker at Blaauwklippen Agricultural Estate. Honours BSc Agriculture (Oenology) cum laude graduate of Stellenbosch University. Completed harvests at Glen Carlou, Dornier, AA Badenhorst Family Wines and Stellenzicht. Joined Quoin Rock Winery in 2008 as assistant winemaker and was winemaker there from 2010 until 2014. Has served on judging panels of South Africa’s Young Wine Show, FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10, Cape Vintners Classification, Blaauwklippen Blending Competition and Veritas Awards, and has also judged in Spain at the Zarcillo International Wine Competition 2018. Distinction graduate of the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2013 and attended the advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014. Trophy Wine Show associate judge in 2013, 2014 and 2016 and judge since 2017.
Heidi Duminy CWM
Cape Wine Master and Principal of the Cape Wine Academy. Formerly communications manager for DGB, brand manager for Veuve Clicquot and Krug and trade marketing manager of the LVMH portfolio of Champagnes and spirits. Wine Marketing specialist and group marketing manager for Meridian Holdings. Particular expertise and experience judging Cap Classique. Convenor for the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge since 2017, the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year panel 2020, and judge for the sparkling wine category at Veritas since 2011. Associate judge at the Trophy Wine Show in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and judge since 2016. Distinction graduate of the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2011 and Advanced Wine Judging Academy attendee in 2014.
Editor of Winemag.co.za. Freelance wine writer contributing to Decanter and other titles on an occasional basis. Completed a small-scale winemaking programme run by Stellenbosch University’s Department of Viticulture and Oenology and a graduate of the inaugural Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2007. Experience includes tasting for Platter’s South African Wine Guide, taster and judge for various local and international competitions. Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show judge from 2007 to 2014 and then since 2016.
Chairperson of the South African Sommeliers’ Association, founder of Wineyard East Africa as well as co-founder and managing director of Somm on Call. Kenyan-born, he began his journey in wine when he moved to South Africa in 2013. One of only three ASI (Association de la Sommellerie Internationale) sommeliers from South Africa, completed WSET Level 3 and a graduate of the Michael Fridjhon Judging Academy in 2016. A qualified chef, Spencer was the operations manager and sommelier for the Open Door group of restaurants and brand manager at Warwick Wine Estate. He has been a regular judge at several leading wine competitions including the Trophy Wine Show where he served as an associate judge from 2016 to 2019 and a judge since 2020.
Main Market Regional Sales Manager at Spier Wine Estate. Eat Out and Mercedes-Benz Sommelier of the Year in 2014. From coffee shop to Italian bistro, his career in fine wine progressed with his appointment as Head Sommelier at DW11-13 Restaurant in Johannesburg and as sales representative at The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company from 2015 until 2018. He has completed the Cape Wine Academy Certificate in Wine and WSET Levels 1, 2 and 3, and is a member of the Hugues Lepin Sommelier and Wine Academy. Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy 2016 graduate. Trophy Wine Show associate judge from 2016 to 2018 and judge since 2019.
Wine Cellar fine wine merchants and cellarers CEO. A former wine buyer for the Vineyard Connection. Graduated with distinction at the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2007 and attended the Advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014. More than 13 years of judging experience at various competitions, currently Chenin Blanc Top 10 Chair and panellist for Winemag.co.za, including previously roving chair for Platter’s South African Wine Guide. Trophy Wine Show judge in 2008, 2009, from 2012 to 2015 and in 2017 and 2018.
Cellarmaster at Warwick Wines from May 2019. Previously Cellarmaster at Steenberg Vineyards from 2012 and General Manager from July 2018 to April 2019. Graduated from Stellenbosch University in 2007 with a BSc Viticulture and Oenology degree. Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year in 2014 and Cape Winemakers Guild member since December 2018. Distinction graduate at the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2010 and attended the Advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014. Trophy Wine Show associate judge from 2011 to 2013 and judge in 2014, 2015, 2016 returning in 2019.
Heads up the Premier Wine Direct programme for the Singita Conservation brand, sourcing and supplying wines for the group’s 15 lodges and camps in four African countries. Deeply invested in hospitality having lived and worked in Africa, France, the UK and Australia – always with the emphasis on food and wine excellence. Cape Wine Academy Diploma graduate. Graduated with distinction at the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2008, served as associate judge at the Trophy Wine Show that year and as judge from 2011 to 2017 and again since 2019. Attended the Michael Fridjhon Advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014.
Cathy van Zyl MW
Master of Wine. Judge at the Trophy Wine Show from 2003 to 2011 and again since 2020. An occasional panellist for several other local competitions and has also judged overseas, with stints at Vinitaly’s Consurso Enologico Internacional, the Sydney International Wine Competition, the Shanghai International Wine Competition, Decanter’s World Wine Awards and the International Wine Competition. Associate editor of Platter’s South African Wine Guide, and co-author of the South African chapter in The Wine Report for several years. Previous Chair of the Institute of Masters of Wine’s education committee and now a member of its council. Lectures internationally, mostly in Japan and China, and occasionally contributes to wine journals and websites around the world. In 2019, named Institute of Cape Wine Masters’ Personality of the Year for her passionate promotion of SA wine.