International Wine Challenge

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About International Wine Challenge

The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed Business Media is now in its 35th year. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 10 different judges and awards include medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended awards

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Contact Details

Elly Barham-Marsh Helen Kenny
Manifest London
t. +44 (0)203 1379 270

International Wine Challenge

Sake Homecoming: The Prefecture of Hyogo to host the International Wine Challenge’s celebratory tenth Sake competition

The world’s most prestigious Sake competition to host its ‘blind’ Sake judging in Hyogo this May.

The Prefecture of Hyogo will host the tenth International Wine Challenge Sake competition this May, following an agreement signed today between the Governor of Hyogo, the Honorable Toshizo Ido, and Mr Andrew Reed, the Managing Director of the International Wine Challenge. Supported by a committee of related cities and organisations, the Hyogo prefecture will host the three-day competition, commencing on the 16th of May 2016.

  • The competition celebrates the ten-year collaboration between the Sake Samurai Association and the International Wine Challenge.
  • This long-standing partnership has supported the global expansion of Sake, by both boosting international awareness and exports, and increasing the popularity of Sake within Japan.
  • The IWC Sake will see a 54-strong panel of the world’s most experienced Sake judges blind taste over a thousand different entries in a celebration of the vast diversity of this enticing beverage.
  • This is the second time the IWC Sake will be held in Japan, following a hugely successful competition in 2012.
  • Between the 16th and the 18th May 2016, the panels of both Japanese and non-Japanese Sake judges will blind taste over a thousand Sake entries across a broad range of different styles and award its prestigious Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, as well as Commended awards.
  • The best examples will also be awarded IWC Sake Trophies, with the best in show being awarded Champion status.
  • The medal and trophy winners will be announced on the 20th May at the Ikutru Shrine in Kobe, with the Champion Sake being named at the annual IWC Awards Dinner on 7th July 2016 in London.
  • Entry for the competition is now officially open, with the closing date for registration being 20th April 2016.
  • To find out more information about the competition or to enter visit:


Chris Ashton, IWC Sake Event Director commented:

“We are thrilled to be celebrating our tenth year of the IWC Sake by hosting the competition in Sake’s homeland of Japan. Hyogo is home to some of Japan’s largest Sake producers, so it was natural choice of host. Six of the last nine IWC Champion Sake have been made using Yamadanishiki rice grown in the Hyogo region. The Governor of Hyogo and his team have been extremely welcoming and we thank him for his help in making the dream of returning to Japan to host the IWC Sake a reality.”

 “Never before has such a experienced and vast panel of Sake judges been assembled in one place and we expect to receive more entries than ever. This will truly be a spectacular event which celebrates this fantastic product.”

 Rie Yoshitake, the IWC Sake Ambassador commented:

“Last year’s competition delivered a wealth of fantastic surprises with many varieties winning top prizes, and even a Fukushima brewery coming out on top. With the competition returning to Japan for the second time, we are hoping to see more styles triumph, more success stories and to encourage more people to enjoy this wonderful drink all over the globe.”

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