MADISON, WIS. – It will be up to a panel of dairy processing industry experts from around the globe to decide which products are the best in their class and which cheese stands out the most at the 2022 World Championship Cheese Contest.

The judges at this year’s competition, taking place March 1-3, will travel to Madison, Wis., from 16 countries worldwide and 13 US states. The team of cheese evaluators will be comprised of cheese graders, cheese buyers, dairy science professors and researchers.

“The skill, expertise and knowledge of our contest judges are part of what make this competition so unique,” said Kirsten Strohmenger of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, host of the biennial event. “Their precise, rigorous evaluation adds meaning and value to the golden contest seal consumers see on the store shelf, helping to boost sales and drive interest in the winning companies.”

Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to the three highest scoring entries in 141 classes. Though the event itself will be closed to the public, the World Champion Cheese will be announced live online at at 2 p.m. (CT) on March 3. 

The judges calculate an exact score for each cheese, butter product, yogurt and dry dairy ingredient in the contest, which has more than 2,900 product entries overall. The evaluations are based on attributes such as flavor, body, texture, salt, color, finish, packaging and other categories.

The team of judges at this year’s World Championship Cheese Contest will be led by chief judge Jim Mueller, chief judges emeritus Bill Schlinsog and Bob Aschebrock, and assistant chief judges Tim Czmowski, Stan Dietsche, Josef Hubatschek, Mariana Marques de Almeida and Sandy Toney.

The 53 international expert judges are:

• Dr. Gabriele Arlotti, CheeseItaly, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

• Dr. Francisco de Asis Ruiz Morales, Centro IFAPA – Camino de Purchil, Andalucía, Spain

• Ir. Maarten Bakker, Royal FrieslandCampina, the Netherlands

• Kirk Baldwin, Valley Queen Cheese, South Dakota

• Marc Bates, Bates Consulting LLC, Oregon

• Larry Bell, LBell Consulting LLC, Wisconsin

• Kimberlee Burrington, ADPI, Wisconsin

• Dominique Delugeau, Saputo Cheese USA, Wisconsin

• Dr. MaryAnne Drake, Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center at North Carolina State University, North Carolina

• Todd Druhot, Gourmet Foods International, Georgia

• Dr. Nana Farkye, California Polytechnic State University, California

• Jessica Fernandez Lopez, Lactography, Mexico

• Dr. Mucio Furtado, IFF, São Paulo, Brazil

• Chad Galer, Dairy Management Inc., Illinois

• Craig Gile, Cabot Creamery, Vermont

• Glenn Hatcher, Pacific Cheese, Oklahoma

• Enda Howley, Ornua, Ireland

• Kory Hyvonen, Oshkosh Cold Storage, Wisconsin

• John Jaeggi, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin

• Gerrit Jansen, FrieslandCampina, Drenthe, the Netherlands

• Luis Jiménez-Maroto, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin

• Andy Johnson, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin

• Dr. Mark Johnson, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin

• Aileen Kacvinsky, Schuman Cheese Inc., Wisconsin

• Prof. Samir Kalit, University of Zagreb, Croatia

• Dr. Kerry Kaylegian, Penn State University, Pennsylvania

• Greg Kinate, Winona Foods, Wisconsin

• Drew Kordus, Great Lakes Cheese, Wisconsin

• Dr. Susan Larson, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin

• Terry Lensmire, Lensmire Dairy Consulting, Wisconsin

• Dr. Arnoldo Lopez-Hernandez, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mexico

• Thierry Martin, Agropur, Quebec, Canada

• Christophe Megevand, Schuman Cheese, New Jersey

• Virgil Metzger, Potrue Graphics, Illinois

• Lloyd Metzger, Valley Queen Cheese, South Dakota

• Per Olesen, St. Clemens Food Products, Denmark

• Michael Pederson; Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Wisconsin

• Miguel Rolo, Busqui Cheese Molds, Portugal

• Dr. Giuseppe Rostiti, Biochem s.r.l., Lombardy, Italy

• Roland Sahli, Gourmino AG, Bern, Switzerland

• David Satterness, Chr. Hansen Inc. (Retired), South Dakota

• Christian Schmutz, FROMARTE, Fribourg, Switzerland

• Franco Sessa, Whitestone Cheese, New Zealand

• Russell Smith, Dairy Australia, New South Wales, Australia

• Marianne Smukowski, Wisconsin

• Dean Sommer, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin

• Cathy Strange, Whole Foods Market, Texas

• Ernesto Toalombo, Proyectalimentos Cía. Ltda., Pichincha, Ecuador

• Don Tribby, IFF, Missouri

• Stefan Truttman, FROMARTE, Uri, Switzerland

• Eric Vorpahl, Masters Gallery Foods, Wisconsin

• David Wentz, Sargento Foods Inc., Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association has hosted the World Championship Cheese Contest every other year since 1957.