Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association | JSS


2021 ASI Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa in Cyprus

In November 2021, the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS), joined the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa 2021 event for the first time. This year’s host country was Cyprus, where top sommeliers from 34 countries competed for the overall title “Best Sommelier”. At the event, JSS Instructors demonstrated the diversity and appeal of sake by showcasing 45 different brands and 530 bottles in a seminar and tasting session.

The main purpose of JSS participation was to support the advancement of the awareness of sake in the community of top sommeliers, which would perform a great influence on the gastronomic space. JSS joined the event in hopes of rousing more interest in the unique characteristics of sake within the community. The Sommeliers appreciated the profound flavor and varieties of sake, commenting: “The koji brings such an interesting balance and complex umami to the sake. We will definitely be paying deeper attention to this category”.

Also, JSS conducted the master class seminar, “Japanese Sake and Food”. The seminar featured informative guidance on sake food pairings across various cuisines. The seminar speaker was the previous Best Sommelier title winner, Mr. Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia. Around 100 guests participated in the seminar with tastings of 8 sake brands. The tasting led to an increase in discussion, reflecting the heightened interest in sake from the audience.

In recent years, sake has seen a rise in popularity abroad in tandem with the global expansion of Japanese cuisine. However, sake and food pairing is not restricted solely to Japanese cuisine. Instead, our goal is to broaden culinary perspectives and introduce industry influencers to the international possibilities of sake.

JSS Director, Hitoshi Utsunomiya reflects on the relationship between sake and global cuisine, as well as the outcomes of this year’s master class seminar. “We believe that sake can make a great contribution to the diversification of the global culinary culture, and we will continue our efforts to raise more awareness. In this event, we received high acclaim from the top sommeliers from different countries, and that allowed us to experience the increasing global awareness of Japanese sake first-hand”.

About the ASI Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa in Cyprus 2021

(November 15-19 2021)
Held once every 3 years, the ASI Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa is a worldwide wine expert competition hosted by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale. Sommeliers carrying the title “Best Sommelier” from their home countries in Europe and Africa gather to compete for the title “World’s Best Sommelier.” From the 34 participants, only 3 finalists make it to the final stage. This year’s Best Sommelier title went to the representative sommelier from Italy.

About the ASI – Association de la Sommellerie Internationale

The Association de la Sommellerie Internationale is a non-profit, international organization. The organization was formed in 1969 in Reims, France, over the course of June 3rd and 4th. ASI gathers members (one membership organization per member country) to promote the sommelier profession and provide professional training and development. ASI also aims to protect the ethics of the sommelier profession.


Event Images

Official Highlights Video

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