Meet the Wine & Food Tourism Awards 2019 judges in the Authentic South African Experience Category

Monday, 20 May, 2019
Wine & Food Tourism Conference founder and owner Judy Brower, hospitality entrepreneur Janet Pillai, and wine marketing fundi Su Birch serve as judges in The Authentic South African Experience category of the Wine & Food Tourism Awards 2019. Read more about them ...

Judy Brower

Judy and husband Kevin Kidson co-founded the extensive South African wine portal, in 1996 after a 15-year career in IT and data warehousing.

She feels passionately about education, transformation and making a difference in South Africa, hence launching the #wineforgood initiative in 2016. Judy is often found behind the camera at events and launches, representing

Besides loving singing, wine, theatre, the beach and hiking, she is a real foodie, and loves to cook and entertain at home and at the office, earning her the title of CFO (chief food organiser) at

Janet Pillai

A strategist and change maker, she has worked for academic institutions and governments. She has been awarded the King Chavez Sparks Visiting Fellowship as well as a Visiting Fellowship to the Smithsonian Institution.

Janet managed the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio for the Western Cape Provincial Government until she established Multilayer Trade Corporation (MLT Corp). The company offers seamless vehicle hire, shuttle and accommodation solution from inception to completion in the public, private corporate, tourist and maritime sectors.

She is active on the speaking circuit, handling topics such as transport, tourism, culture and heritage, oil and gas, as well as women’s development and mentorship.

Su Birch

Su Birch has a distinguished track record in marketing and advertising, and held the position of CEO of Wines of South Africa (WOSA) from 2000 until the end of 2013 when she resigned to start her own marketing co-operative, Thinking Seahorses.

Su has received international and local recognition for her work in wine including:

2005 International Wine & Spirit Competition: Lanson Woman in Wine Trophy
2006 Cape Masters of Wine: Wine Personality of the Year
2009 The Drinks Business: Woman of the Year
2012 Wine Intelligence: Top 10 Influential Wine Personalities
2013 The Drinks Business Green Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award.
2013 The Drinks Business: Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Wine

Su ran and wrote the content for Tastetrip, a wine tourism website, for four years and is the programme manager of the annual Wine & Food Tourism Conference in Stellenbosch.

In 2018 she presented on wine tourism at Wine2Wine in Verona, Italy.

Su is a guest lecturer on wine tourism at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She holds degrees in English and psychology, and has achieved an MBA. Most recently she has qualified and started a practice as a life and business coach.

About the Wine & Food Tourism Awards:

The aim of the Wine & Food Tourism Awards platform is to recognise those individuals and teams who have made exceptional contributions to the development and promotion of the South African wine and food tourism industry.  Jean-Pierre Rossouw serves at the awards chairperson, overseeing the judging panel in three categories: Innovation, Service Excellence and The Authentic South African Experience. 

The Innovation category is judged by marketing thought-leader Steve Massey, strategic marketing expert Mac Mabidilala as well as tourism professional and co-founder of the Oranjezicht City Farm Sheryl Ozinsky; while Service Excellence sees tourism and hospitality expert Horst Frehse, conferencing specialist Gwynneth Matthews, and wine industry marketing and communications consultant André Morgenthal as judges.

There will be a maximum of three honourees in each category, and each of them will get the opportunity to include the Wine & Food Tourism Awards 2019 logo on all their marketing material for the following year. Individuals or teams who have been named as honourees for three years in a row will receive membership to the elite Wine & Food Tourism Honourees Club. Thereafter they will not be eligible to be nominated for the same award again.

Participants may nominate as many wine and/or food establishments as they wish, in any or all of the categories. A separate form needs to be submitted for each nomination. An administration fee of R600 is applicable to each nomination. 

Nominations could be submitted via the website,  The closing date for participants to submit their nominations is 10 June 2019.

The honourees per category of the Wine & Food Tourism Awards 2019 will be announced at the Wine & Food Tourism Conference 2019, taking place on 18 September 2019 at Spier near Stellenbosch.  This is the fourth time this annual conference is being presented.

The 2019 event, themed The Future of Wine & Food Tourism, will as per previous years provide an invaluable platform for participants to network and keep abreast of what is hot and happening in South African wine and food tourism. Go to to view the programme and line-up of speakers. 

Save 51% by registering before 30 June (early bird registration)!

Go to for more information, to register for the conference, and to submit awards nominations.  

Social media:
Twitter and Facebook: @winefoodconf
Instagram: @winefoodtourismconf
Hashtag: #wfconf2019