About Tasters

The panel is comprised of hand-picked specialists from around the world. It is responsible for awarding medals to the best entries.

Twenty-five nationalities are represented thereby guaranteeing the outstanding diversity that sets the Sake Selection by Concours Mondial apart from other sake competitions.

The custodian
of the competition’s professionalism and reliability

Sylvain Huet has been passionate about Japanese culture for many years and shares his passion for sake with as many people as possible by sweeping away preconceived ideas about the drink. In 2017 he was featured in cultural programmes on ARTE and on Japanese national television NHK, which devoted a topic to him in its newscast.

From the Japanese government, which asked him to write a reference document in French on sake for the trade and industry, to Yahoo Japan, which asked him for his selection of Tokyo-style places to taste the best sake, not to mention Japan’s Cultural Centre, which regularly calls on him for conferences or training courses, his commitment is total.
Starting with his first trip to Japan in 1998, sake was a revelation and he had no other choice at the time to satisfy his curiosity than to go through professional training. He learnt from Japan’s leading specialists and completed his learning curve with concrete and repeated experiences with various producers.

2012 saw Sylvain reach the pinnacle of recognition – he was the first Frenchman to become a Saké Samouraï during an official ceremony in Kyoto, in recognition of his commitment, his work and his passion. He received the title with great humility, saw it as an encouragement from the entire industry and has been on a constant mission to meet sake producers across Japan.
Today, he can pride himself on being the only Frenchman to have visited several hundred of them to date. He is chairman of the judging panel, guaranteeing that the tastings run smoothly, that the sake is served professionally and that the results are totally impartial.

Akiko Fujita Japan

Deputy Manager of Quality Evaluation & Reseach Division of National Reseach Institute of Brewing

Alexandre Vingtier France

Spirits & Sake expert at La Revue du Vin de France – International Spirits Consultant – Author of Iconic Whisky – Co-founder & Editor in chief of Rumporter Magazine

André Dominé Germany

Freelance journalist – Wine writer – Contributor to the magazines Weinwel, Weinwirtschaft, Vinum, Weinwisser and the Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag

Atsuhide Hoshiyama Japan

Manager at Rengaya – Sommelier

Carlos Armando Borboa Suárez Mexico

Sommelier y periodista gastronómico. Spanish Wine Specialist, por el ICEX Spain Trade and Investment – Director del México Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles – Consultor para México en la 8ª Edición de The World Atlas of Wine – Contributor en la 5ª Edición de The Oxford Companion to Wine

Charles Stewart United States

Owner and Representative Director at ECO-INTER K. K.

Chisato Kato Japan
Cynthia Chaplin United Kingdom

Director of Italian Wines in English

Cyrille Mald France

Columnist for la Revue du Vin de France & Le Figaro – Author of “Rhum” (Hachette 2022), “Whisky (EPA 2021)” & “Iconic Whisky, world top five most distributed book on spirits – Ambassador of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Gurvinder Bhatia Canada

Quench Magazine Editor-in-Chief – Global TV wine columnist – Vinomania Consulting president

Haruo Matsuzaki Japan

Journalist – Chairman at Sake Export Association

Hitoshi Utsunomiya Japan
Jeffrey Jenssen United States

Writer, educator and TV host of wine, food and travel. Co-Founder of The World Wine Guys. Lifestyle Editor and member of the tasting panel for Central Europe and Eastern Europe of Wine Enthusiast. Columnist in Forbes. Author of RED WINE, Best Wine Book of the last 25 years of the Gourmand International Awards.

Jesse Selvagn Vietnam

Certified Sake Sommelier, Shochu Advisor and Cicerone

Joerg Mueller Germany

Certified Sake Sommelier – Owner at Ueno Gourmet GmbH

Julian Houseman Australia

Freelance Sake writer at Sake Today – Sake Advocate

Junichi Ohyama Japan

CEO of GOHONGI wine shop, administrateur of Japan Sommeliers association, licensed J.S.A

Kristoffer Tadeo Chua Philippines

CEO at YOI Sake Bar – Sake importer

Liuliu Xu China

Journalist at “Global Times”

Louis Robuchon Abe Japan
Luca Rendina Italy

Sake Sommelier Associazione Italiana

Marcus Pakiser United States

Sake Samuraï – Vice President Sake Category Republic National Distributing Company –

Matteo Ceravolo China, Hong Kong

Sake Sommelier – General Manager of Sake Central (Hong Kong)

Mi Yeun Hong South Korea

CEO at Icotrade – Wine writer – Columnist – Sommelier

Michael De Simone United States

Writer, educator and TV host of wine, food and travel. Co-Founder of The World Wine Guys. Lifestyle Editor and member of the Wine Enthusiast tasting panel for Spain. Columnist in Forbes. Author of RED WINE, Best Wine Book of the last 25 years of the Gourmand International Awards.

Pablo Alomar Salvioni Spain

Sake importer in Spain

Patrick Ellis Canada

Sake Samuraï – President at Blue Note Wine & Spirits Inc.

Rojita Tiwari India

Founder & Director @ Drinks & Destinations LLP, India – Award-winning drinks writer – Educator – Consultant – Global Wines, Spirits & Cigars Committee by Della Leaders Club

Sophie Lafaye France

Freelance journalist

Stefania Manfredi Italy
Thomas Ling Malaysia

CEO at Entwine Consultancy Asia – Malaysia first Certified Sommelier – Master of Sake from Sake Service Institute of Japan – Consultant – Educator

Thomas Rydberg Denmark

Editor and owner of winemagazine DinVinGuide – Editor and owner of spiritmagazine Whisky & Rom

Vincent Muller Belgium

Founder and owner at Saké Passion – Wine Sommelier – Sake Sommelier – Graduated Beer Brewer

W. Blake Gray United States

Freelance Wine Writer – US Editor at Wine Searcher

Wei Jen Chen Chinese Taipei (Taiwan)

Sake Sommelier

Yorimitsu Morishita Japan

Managing Director at Shinwa Foods Chemical co., ltd.

Yutaka Takano Japan

Consultant sommelier at Aeon