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Sake Expressions – The Wine World Is Hurting and Sake Can Help!

In wake of the terrible North Bay fires that destroyed so much of the Northern California wine world, we wanted to express our heartfelt sympathy, thoughts, and prayers. It was and continues to be a horrible situation for the residents, the employees, all of the people, and of course for the wine. As a guy who has done battle against wine (in a business sense) for over the past decade, I am deeply sorry for what they are going through. It’s not cool at all. And I was actually a little taken aback when several friends and customers said that this would be a, “Great time to take some market share away from wine,” or a “Good time to try and sway some wine drinkers over to the sake side.” It never really dawned on me.

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But the fires gave me a moment to reflect about the relationship between wine and sake, and actually and more importantly it made me think about the similarities between the two. So we started thinking what would be the best way to help the wine world and their customers by using sake? How could we use sake and True Sake to help the wine industry? Of course the simple answer is to take up a collection of donated funds. Or give a certain percentage of store proceeds to the victims. But to be honest, we have done this so much in the past few months on account of the hurricanes and other disasters and our “help” wasn't that much in the big picture. So how could we make a difference?

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And then it dawned on us! We could offer wine drinkers a temporary home in the sake industry. Huh? How in the world could we do that? Easy! We could do what we’ve been doing for more than 14 years, and that is to highlight the similarities between certain wines and comparable sakes that have similar attributes. Huh? Basically we want to create a list of sakes that have very wine-like qualities and could become a temporary fix for certain wines. Can this be done? Absolutely! As readers of this Newsletter you know that we have used wine to describe sakes, and all we have to do is the reverse.

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It is common knowledge that there will be a temporary wine “shortage” on account of the fires in the North Bay. We do not know how long this will be in effect, but we are ready to help. On every review in the store and at the website we provide wine and beer matches that come close to those specific sakes under the assumption that a person who likes a big cabernet sauvignon and stout beers will not like a the same sake that is preferred by a drinker who enjoys Chardonnay and light ales. This system that we actually trademarked a very long time ago is called TasteMatch, and it is a good handholding method to get people into sakes for a first time.

There are some generalities that would fit in a macro view. If you are a deep red wine drinker then the Junmai category would be a good category for you. If you like fruity and aromatic wines then the Ginjo category may fit your bill. And if you like ethereal and very pristine wines then you may like the Daiginjo category. Herewith, is a list of sakes that are “twins” to specific wine varietals. Are these perfect matches? Absolutely not! But they are in the same ballpark and that is an arena that we feel comfortable in, and they will provide a temporary home to those Northern California wine-drinking fans who need a fix:

Cabernet Sauvignon:


Pinot Noir:






Sauvignon Blanc:






Of course this is an abbreviated list so by all means come by the store and test our gang of sake sommeliers - tell them what wine that are missing and they will do their best to put you into a sake that will make you forget that terrible fire!

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