Sake Fest Vancouver


Come for the first ever dedicated sake festival in Vancouver on September 29th! Most of the importers for sake in BC will be in attendance. The Sake Association of BC (SABC) currently represents 12 importers in our market. There will be over 100 sake to sample and many brewery representatives will make the journey from Japan for this special event!

I am honoured to do the trade seminar with my good sake buddy, Miki Ellis! If you are trade and are interested in our sake talk/tasting, please contact the SABC.

Hope to see you there!





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!











Upcoming: Vancouver’s Largest Sake Tasting Event – October 10th!

Sake Night Thumb 3

Happy Belated Sake Day!  October 1st is Nihonshu no Hi — the official start to the sake brewing season in Japan. There are many events going on this month and we are fortunate to have Western Canada’s largest sake tasting event to coincide with October’s global sake celebrations.

Tonari Gumi’s 14th Sake Tasting Event will be held on October 10th, 2015 from 7:00-9:30pm at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. More info can be found on the event’s Facebook page. This fundraising event to help support Tonari Gumi’s social programs for seniors and new immigrants is vital to the organization.

Tickets are $75 per person, in advance until October 9th, and there’s also VIP tickets you can purchase which are $95. VIP’s get a special seminar and exclusive tasting prior to the event start. Go to their FB page for more details.

Along with a huge selection of sakes — 13 importers from the SABC, the Sake Association of BC, will be on-hand to pour and share great stories about their sakes — there will be a ton of nibbles to accompany the array of nihonshu you’ll be able to taste. Well-known local restaurants such as Forage, Octopus’ Garden, Minami and Hapa Izakaya will be preparing delicious appetizers for the event. A silent auction with lots of goodies will be available as well.

Sounds like a fun night and all the money goes to helping a worthy cause. Hope to see you there!

To find more about Tonari Gumi and their programs, please check out their website. They have many events going on year-round, including special food and sake events. I did a great seminar at their new facility back in March and it was a lot of fun. So please go check out their website for other upcoming events.



Ming Pao Feature on Sake


I was fortunate to be featured in last Sunday’s Ming Pao Newspaper in Vancouver. The Ming Pao is one of the largest Chinese daily newspaper chains based in Hong Kong, with overseas outposts at several major Canadian cities.

I recently received my Level 3 Award in Sake by the WSET, one of the world’s largest wine/spirits educators based in London, England, with schools that offer certifications across the globe. Being the first female in Canada to pass the examinations, the newspaper wanted to ask me some key questions about sake. I will be teaching the course as well, and hope to set something up in Vancouver.

I was happy they focused on how sake can be paired with food outside the realm of Japanese. Chinese food, in particular, goes wonderfully with sake. Because sake has so much umami–the 5th flavour/sense–and Chinese food has great amounts of umami–natural or sometimes added (msg)–the two elements match exquisitely.

Ah, Dim sum with a nice junmai ginjo or a sturdy junmai!

Steamed Chicken’s feet, a dim sum standard which I love, pairs nicely with Shichihonyari Gin Fubuki Junmai, a new offering in the BC market. Instead of warm tea, try a warm version of Fuji Takasago Yamahai Junmai Ginjo with dumplings like har gow or sui mai and don’t forget the cheung fun–a steamed rice noodle wrapped in shrimp, beef, or mushroom variations, topped with a light kiss of oil and soy sauce.

The article also talks about how sake goes well with pizza–yes that’s right, pizza!

Sake is extremely versatile and with less than a third of the acidity of wine (some experts say lesser), the ability to match all manner of international foods with sake is endless.

All this talk of sake and food is making me hungry!



October 1st is Nihonshu no Hi – World Sake Day!


Hello Fellow Sake Fans,
Just a brief note about October 1st, which is World Sake Day. It marks the start of the brewing season and is a great reason to get together with friends to share in a boisterous KANPAI!!

Please get out there and enjoy some sake on October 1st! If you are indeed free, there is a tasting in Richmond tomorrow with Masumi Sake. Miyasaka Shuzo is an amazing brewery from Suwa, Nagano and their well-known brand is called Masumi, which is now available in BC.

Keith Norum, the Overseas Operations Director at Miyasaka Shuzo will be on-hand to pour samples of Masumi Junmai Ginjo “Karakuchi Kiippon” and chat about sake. He is a Canadian who has lived in Japan  for over 20 years and has some great stories to tell. Special food offers will be available with purchase of Masumi sake at the event.
The event will be at Toku Restaurant inside the Lansdowne Mall in Richmond. It is located on the Alderbridge Way side of the mall near the Toys R Us.

If you can’t make it, try to have some sake tomorrow! Also, this week in sake, you can check out the Tonari Gumi Sake Tasting Event. Tonari Gumi is the Japanese volunteer association in Vancouver, which assists Japanese seniors and new immigrants with their outreach programs. Their fundraising event boasts the largest sake tasting in Western Canada and it’s happening this Saturday, October 4th! Hope to see you with sake in hand this week!

Happy Nihonshu no Hi! Happy Sake Day!


Tonari Gumi Sake Tasting Event – October 4th, 2014

TG Sake Night 2014 Poster_Rev 3

As the sake brewing season begins, we, as consumers, can celebrate the new sake year by imbibing in our favourite drink, for a very good cause.

Tonari Gumi is a Vancouver volunteer-run non-profit that assists Japanese immigrants and their families, Japanese-Canadian seniors and others, in a variety of ways to provide mobility and support for community services in Japanese and English. Tonari Gumi’s sake tasting fundraising event is in its 13th year–it was the first large-scale sake event of its kind in Canada, and continues to be the largest sake event in Western Canada.

This year’s tasting, sponsored in conjunction with the Sake Association of BC, will be on Saturday, October 4th, will be its biggest yet–you will not want to miss this! There will be a depth of not only sake, but food as well, with popular Japanese restaurants: Miku, Minami, Shuraku, Guu and Hapa Izakaya – just some of the stellar participants providing small bites to enjoy with the plethora of sake available to taste.

Held at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, the event will have an auction component as well with tons of great items to bid on. The tasting will run from 7pm – 9:30pm.

There’s still time to pick up an early bird ticket at $75. After Sept. 19th, the tickets will be $80. You must purchase a ticket prior to the event as there will not be tickets available at the door. VIP tickets are $115 and include a special sake tasting seminar prior to the big event.

Contact Tonari Gumi to purchase tickets.

Hope to see you there!


Sake Seminar and Tasting at Sakura Days Japan Fair


cherry blossoms at the van dusen botanical gardens


Happy Spring Sake Friends!
The nearly month-long Cherry Blossom Festival is about to kick off this week in Vancouver and one of the premier events is the Sakura Days Japan Fair at the beautiful Van Dusen Botanical Gardens. This year, there will be 4 sake seminars (2 each on Saturday and Sunday) sponsored by the newly formed, Sake Association of BC.

Dates and Times:
Saturday, April 5: 2pm & 3:30pm (seminar/tasting is an hour)
Sunday, April 6: 2pm & 3:30pm (seminar/tasting is an hour)
Price: $10  (this is on top of the Japan Fair entrance fee)

Learn about sake from 3 certified Advanced Sake Professionals (ASP) and taste 5 unique varieties. Your sake guides will be myself, Miki Ellis from Miku/Minami Restaurants, and Iori Kataoka from Shuraku/Zest Japanese Restaurants. There will be much fun and discussion! Tickets for the tasting are a mere $10 on top of entrance fee to the Fair. You need to pre-register for the event on the same day you are attending. Come by to the entrance area of Visitor Centre Classroom where the seminar will take place, and book a spot. Registration opens at 10am, both days. Only 20 attendees per class, please bring a government-issued photo id. You must be 19 yrs of age or older to attend. Here’s a link for more info.

Hope to see you there!