World Championship Cheese Contest announces largest-ever judging team

Wisconsin State Farmer
The World Championship Cheese Contest was held March 3-5, 2020 in Madison.

MADISON, WI – World Championship Cheese Contest organizers today announced the largest-ever lineup of internationally-renowned judges set to evaluate entries March 6-8 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin. 

Contest entries are due Jan. 31, and can be submitted via

The 2018 judging team consists of 53 experienced cheese graders, cheese buyers, dairy science professors, and researchers, hailing from 20 countries and 15 American states. They include:

  • Fernando Pino, Instituto Nacional de Técnología Industrial, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Russell Smith, Dairy Australia, New South Wales, Australia
  • Kurt Kroissl, Berglandmilch Reg. Gen.m.H., Oberwang, Austria
  • Mucio Furtado, DuPont Nutrition and Health, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Louis Aird, Saputo Cheese, Québec, Canada
  • Thierry Martin, Agropur Canada, Ontario, Canada
  • Samir Kalit, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Lars Johannes Nielsen, Danish Dairy Board, Denmark
  • Anja Pölönen, Finlandia Cheese Valio Ltd, Joensuu, Finland
  • Roland Barthélemy, Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, Carpentras PDC, France
  • Dieter Koch-Hartke, Deutsches Milchkontor (DMK), Germany
  • Enda Howley, Ornua, Ireland
  • Dr. Giuseppe Rostiti, Mofin Alce Group, Italy
  • Elsa Culoga, Ella Consulting, Italy
  • Luis Alejandro Jiménez-Maroto, Center for Dairy Research, Qro., México
  • Arnoldo Lopez-Hernandez, University of Wisconsin, Dept. of Food Science, Wisconsin, México
  • Jaco Blankespoor, Rouveen Kaasspecialiteiten, Netherlands
  • Chris Vickers, Open Country Dairy, Waikato, New Zealand
  • Kobus Mulder, Mulder Consult, Western Cape Province, South Africa
  • Jose Luis Galván Romo, Instituto Technológico Agrario, Junta de Castilla y León, Itacyl, Spain
  • Andréas Leibundgut, FROMARTE, Berne, Switzerland
  • Stefan Truttmann, FROMARTE, Berne, Switzerland
  • Adrian Fowler, Fowlers Forest Dairies Ltd, Warwickshire, United Kingdom
  • Nana Farkye, Cal Poly State University, California, United States
  • Todd Druhot, Gourmet Foods Intl., Georgia, United States
  • John Partridge, Michigan State University, Michigan, United States
  • Dan Konz, DairiConcepts, Minnesota, United States
  • Eric Goan, Mississippi State University, Mississippi, United States 
  • Neville McNaughton, SDI, Missouri, United States
  • Don Tribby, DuPont, Missouri, United States
  • Christophe Megevand, Schuman Cheese, New Jersey, United States
  • Charles Lindberg, New York State Agriculture Department, New York, United States
  • Dr. Steve Zeng, Langston University, Oklahoma, United States
  • Jill Allen, Tillamook, Oregon, United States
  • Marc Bates, Bates Consulting LLC, Oregon, United States
  • Kerry Kaylegian, Penn State University, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Dr. Lloyd Metzger, South Dakota State University, South Dakota, United States
  • David Satterness, Chr. Hansen, South Dakota, United States
  • Cathy Strange, Whole Foods Market, Inc., Texas, United States
  • Craig Gile, Cabot Creamery, Vermont, United States
  • Adeline Druart, Vermont Creamery, Vermont, United States
  • Larry Bell, Lbell Consulting, Wisconsin, United States
  • Kimberlee Burrington, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, United States
  • Dominique Delugeau, Saputo Cheese USA, Wisconsin, United States
  • Jeff Giffin, Masters Gallery Foods, Wisconsin, United States
  • John Jaeggi, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, United States
  • Laura Laehn, Masters Gallery Foods, Wisconsin, United States
  • Ken Neumeier, Wisconsin Aging and Grading, Wisconsin, United States
  • Michael Pederson, Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection, Wisconsin, United States
  • Dean Sommer, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, United States
  • Matt Zimbric, Saputo Cheese, Wisconsin, United States
  • Dr. Mark Johnson, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, United States • Tonya Birkrem, Schreiber Foods, Wisconsin, United States

“Our contest judges are known for their expertise in technical cheese evaluation, one of the elements that sets the World Championship Cheese Contest apart from other competitions,” said Kirsten Strohmenger Henning, Events Manager for Contest host organization, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

The judging panel will again work under the direction of Chief Judge Robert Aschebrock, veteran USDA dairy grader. 

Returning to assist Aschebrock in 2018 are the famous “Red Hats,” the contest’s elite team of assistant chief judges, including Tim Czmowski of Agropur, Inc., Stan Dietsche of Oshkosh Cheese Sales & Storage, Jim Mueller of Mueller Consulting, and Sandy Toney of Masters Gallery Foods. 

New to the “Red Hats” this year are long-time Contest judges Mariana Marques de Almeida of Ms. J and Co. and Josef Hubatschek of ALPMA.

“We’ve added to our panel of Red Hat leaders to round out our expertise in European-style cheeses,” said Aschebrock.  “Altogether, the judging team and Red Hats comprise our largest assemblage of evaluators ever. We’re ready and excited to evaluate thousands of products from around the world.”

To enter the Contest, visit  Entry forms and fees are due Jan. 31.