WSET Level 3 Award in Sake comes to BC!


The newest certification in sake is also sake’s most ambitious. The WSET Level 3 Award in Sake tries to go beyond what other sake courses (in English) offer, by going further in-depth into sake’s raw materials, production methods and processes, as well as creating the WSET’s industry-standard, Systematic Approach to Tasting, specifically for sake.

Nothing can beat going to Japan and visiting real sake breweries, seeing for yourself how sake is made. But if you want a good basis for embarking further into your sake journey, then this course may be the ticket.

I am honoured to teach the first WSET sake course in Vancouver, BC., along with my dear sake colleague, Marcus Pakiser, recent awardee of Sake Samurai, we will teach the course together. Between us, we have over 30 years experience in sake–both of us have made sake commercially so we understand the processes implicitly, and we share a deep appreciation for learning and sharing our sake knowledge.

This will be the first WSET sake certification course in Western Canada. If you’re interested in becoming one of the first in BC to receive the certification and learn from one of only 60 of Sake Samurai in the world, you can find out more via Vinoscenti’s website, or feel free to contact me. Dates for the first certification will be March 11-13, 2016 with exam a week later.

The 3-day  intensive will include a visit to YK3 Sake Brewery, a local producer of sake in Richmond, BC. A real Toji–master sake brewer–runs this brewery. This will help ensure students truly understand how sake is made–a rare opportunity.

Join us for what is sure to be a great sake adventure!











Nihonshu Noel

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December Greetings!

It has been a crazy year, and through the ups and downs the constant has always been sake! In the current edition of The Bulletin, the monthly magazine published by the Japanese Canadian Citizens Association, I have a few sake gift suggestions.

We are getting more and more interesting sakes into the BC market. Get out there and explore the myriad of flavours and aromas each sake possesses and find what fits your palate.

Some suggestions on where to find sake in Vancouver:

Legacy Liquor Store in the Olympic Village neighbourhood has a dedicated sake fridge. The sake is stored cold and therefore fresher, as it doesn’t degrade as fast.

Kitsilano Wine Cellar on 4th Ave has a great sake selection. If you like the big magnum-sized sake bottles called isshobin (1.8L), Kits has the largest selection in town.

BC Liquor Store – Cambie and 39th – has more sake than most of the government liquor stores. That’s not saying much, but if you don’t want to pay the extra retail markup at private stores, this is one of the few government-run stores with a better-than-the-usual-pathetic selection.

Viti Wine and Lager located in Downtown Vancouver, has some interesting sakes, many of which lie in the fridge. However, last time I was there buying a few sakes, the clerk asked me what I was buying. They had no clue it was sake. I gladly explained what it was and why the sake was so cool. That’s kinda sad and certainly doesn’t help to support sake. Education is the key, but nonetheless their buyer has chosen some nice sakes. If you can find it on your own, then you’re golden.

(Updated) Lulu Island Liquor Store in Richmond (no website) has a very decent selection of sake, and prices are good here. It may seem a bit drab from the strip-mall exterior, but don’t let that detract you from going in–there’s good sake to be found within.

Happy Holidays! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with much sake.