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Sydney Wine Academy’s Yukino Ochiai becomes Australia’s first female 'Sake Samurai'

by Sydney Wine Academy | Sep 01, 2017

The Japan Sake Brewers Association has named Sydney Wine Academy’s Sake educator Yukino Ochiai as Australia’s first female Sake Samurai. The Samurai title is the highest honour in the sake industry, and only four sake ambassadors will be inaugurated alongside Ochiai at this year’s ceremony on Wednesday 27 September at Kyoto’s Matsunoo-taisha shrine. 

The Japan Sake Brewers Association Junior Council appoints a small handful of nominated individuals to Sake Samurai status each year. The award, established in 2005, is given to people who champion the culture and identity of sake in Japan and global markets. Ochiai is the third Australian to receive Samurai distinction and only 70 people hold a Sake Samurai title worldwide.

Yukino runs the successful Deja vu Sake Co and becomes only the 16th woman awarded with Sake Samurai status, in an industry where women are significantly underrepresented. In the Japan Sake Brewers Association, women hold only 30 of the 800 chairs within the Junior Council. “Lots of women are coming into the industry and they’re doing a fantastic job,” says Ochiai. “I’m honoured to be one of them. Regardless of gender, I work in the industry because I love the product and I’m proud to promote the traditions from my home country.”

Yukino will be delivering the Sydney Wine Academy’s Sake Level 1 course on Tuesday, 19 September. Enrol now