“Ask Beau” – “Are you ready for the IWC?”
In a word – YES! It’s going to be a very exciting International Wine Challenge this year for more reasons than it being hosted in Yamagata Prefecture, which is awesome. When we hold the IWC in Japan, we get far more sake entries into the event because it is logistically and economically more affordable to submit sakes to a tasting in Japan rather than London.
What does this mean? We have a crap load of sakes to taste and judge! It should be thrilling. I will say that submissions could be a new record, but will find out for sure when we get there. I am very excited to go back to Yamagata, which is one of my soul prefectures. And I look forward to being a part of some extra events happening after the IWC and Hosted by JETRO.
Sadly we had to cut back on some of the judges this IWC, because the Yamagata budget is not as large as the budget for let’s say a Hyogo Prefecture event. Costs in London are far lower for the IWC, but higher for the entries. Thus, we can have far more judges in London. It’s a bummer, but there will be more IWC events to come.
Yes, if you are doing the math! There are fewer judges and potentially a record number of sakes to taste. This sounds like a beautiful problem in my book! I’ll be interested to see where the category winners take us this year. Last year we had a few surprises, but of the glorious kind. Personally I thought that the Junmai category did not show well last year, and I look for a bounce back. Likewise the sparkling sake category had its hiccups, and the Honjozo category was a little lacking. The popularity of the IWC is off the charts so I think that we will see some amazing sakes. And remember this IWC event is for market made sakes, which means each entry is available to the commercial market and is not made specifically for the event.