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How I Became an IWC Sake Judge

On a nice April morning, I’ve got a call from Rie Yoshitake, whom I know from numerous sake events.  “Alex, would you like to be a sake judge at IWC”, she asked out of the blue. “Yes!”, I replied without any hesitation. It was my dream for the last couple of years and now it’s been fulfilled! Yay!

In this episode, I am talking about the IWC (International Wine Challenge), how the judging happens, my personal experience and my takeaways from three days of intensive judging.  

Don’t forget, Sugidama Podcast now has a sponsor, London Sake, an excellent online sake store. London Sake has one of the widest selections of premium and craft sake available online today. They deliver across the UK and Europe, and with over 100 sake from 25 breweries, there really is something for everyone.

Using simple online tasting notes and sensible, affordable food pairings they help you find the perfect sake without any of the fuss. Listeners of the podcast can get a 10% discount Listen to the episode to get the magical code! London Sake: making sake simple.

Episode’s Content:

  • What is IWC (International Wine Challenge)
  • How I got into IWC judging
  • What is the IWC judging process
  • My personal judging experience
  • What I learnt during the IWC Sake
  • My sake discoveries
  • A little Q&A
  • Sake of the episode: Suigei Junmai Ginjo Ginrei

Sake mentioned:
Suigei Junmai Ginjo Ginrei
Suigei Sake Brewery
London Sake

IWC (International Wine Challenge) 2021 Sake Results

Music used:
Wirklich Wichtig (CB 27) by Checkie Brown

Just Arround the World (Kielokaz ID 362) by KieLoKaz


Vocal: Svetlana


Alex is a London-based sake blogger, podcaster, IWC Sake judge and sake advocate. He is a publisher of the Sugidama Blog website and a host of the Sugidama Podcast. Alex has an International Kikisake-shi (Sake Specialist) qualification from SSI (Sake Service Institute). He sees his mission as expanding the awareness of Japanese sake among as many people as possible and helping the growing community of sake lovers to bring together beautiful Japanese sake and non-Japanese food as a way to build a better understanding between our cultures.

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