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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The International Wine Challenge Digital Newsroom is a simple and useful resource for you to keep track of all the latest news stories. High resolution images and complete press releases are available to download from here, and you can connect with our various social media profiles easily. Suggestions for improvements are welcome.

Contact Details

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

International Wine Challenge

International Wine Challenge announces Sake Champion and Great Value Sake winner

The 32nd International Wine Challenge names its Champion sake and Great Value Sake Champion of the year at prestigious awards dinner.

The International Wine Challenge today announces its Champion Sake of 2015, with the top award going to the Homare Sake Brewery from the previously devastated area of Fukushima in Tohoku. The brewery’s Aizu Homare Banshu Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo fought off competition from almost 900 other entries to scoop the prestigious Champion Sake Award, sponsored by Japan Airlines.

This fantastic win for the Fukushima brewery completes an incredible year of success in this year’s competition for the region, which was devastated in 2011 by the Tohoku earthquake. Three Fukushima sake received trophies at the competition, as well as six sake produced in the area being awarded Gold medals.

To celebrate this outstanding success, a Fukushima delegation including the Governor of the region, Masao Uchibori, attended this year’s International Wine Challenge awards dinner yesterday, as guests of his excellency the Japanese Ambassador, Mr Keiichi Hayashi.

As part of the awards dinner proceedings, the International Wine Challenge also announced its Great Value Sake Award, sponsored by the Sake Samurai Association. The Gassan Brewery from the region of Yamagata scooped this award with its Ginrei Gassan Honjozo. This sake blends sweet custard, marshmallow and herbal notes, demonstrating a complexity that belies its modest price tag of Y669 in Japan.

  • The International Wine Challenge Sake Competition is now in its ninth year, having grown exponentially in recent years.
  • Since launching in 2007 with 228 sake entrants, the competition has grown year on year, receiving a staggering 876 entrants at this year’s competition.
  • The IWC Sake Competition is the most unique and multi-national sake judging in the world.
  • Each year an international panel of over 50 experts come together to judge the esteemed competition, including three master of wines (MWs) from over ten different countries such as Australia, China, USA and Japan.
  • IWC award winning sake continue to be served in Japanese Embassies throughout the world.

The latest IWC awards announcements come in the wake of an increase in sake’s popularity the world over. In London alone, sake is served in around 600 Japanese restaurants, with its presence also becoming more prevalent in restaurants serving French, Italian, European, and Indian cuisines.

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Sam Harrop MW Co-Chairman of the Sake competition, said:

“This year the International Wine Challenge sake judges have been spoilt for choice with almost 900 entrants to taste, as the competition continues to grow. We’re incredibly pleased to see Fukushima breweries perform so well at this year’s competition. This result demonstrates the resilience and admirable determination of the people in the region and Japan as a whole to return the area to its former glory.”

Rie Yoshitake, the IWC Sake Ambassador commented:

“It is wonderful to see so many sake breweries thrive as this wonderful beverage continues to grow in popularity the world over. Now is an incredibly exciting time for the sake industry as a whole. All medal, trophy and champion winners have demonstrated how diverse and seductive sake can be. I’m already counting down to celebrating the 10th anniversary of the IWC sake competition next year.”

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