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 (large corporates, family businesses, start-ups, investment funds, institutions and appellations) Author of Iconic Whisky, 101 rhums, 120 rhums, Mezcal l’esprit du Mexique & Whisky l’indispensable (overall 100.000 copies sold in 7 languages) Co-founder & Editor in chief of Rumporter, the leading rum magazine available in French, Spanish & English Columnists for diverses publications (Spirits Hunters, scotchwhisky.com, Cuisines Révolution…)

André Dominé Germany

Winewriter, author or editor of the encyclopedia “Wine” and 15 other books; collaborator of the magazines Weinwelt, Weinwirtschaft, Vinum, Weinwisser and the sunday journal Welt am Sonntag.

Atsuhide Hoshiyama Japan

Finalist of the best sommelier of Japan in 2017 ,Diplôme retainer of International Sommeliers association,JSA Senior sommelier, WSET Advanced Certificate, WSET diploma student

Carlos Armando Borboa Suárez Mexico

Sommelier and specialized wine & spirits journalist. Columnist for El Universal Newspaper Mexico City. Educator in wine at the Mexican Sommelier Association and for the Master of Wine at CESSA Universidad Mexico City. Wine and spirits consultant

Charles Stewart United States

Sake expert

Chisato Kato Japan
Cynthia Chaplin United Kingdom

Worldwide Sommelier Association Fondazione Italiana Sommelier Le Donne Del Vino Professor of Italian Wine and Culture, Lorenzo de’ Medici International Institute, Rome Campus

Cyrille Mald France

Columnist for la Revue du Vin de France. Co-author of “Iconic Whisky”, world top five most distributed book on spirits. Ambassador of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Gurvinder Bhatia Canada

Quench Magazine wine editor; Global TV wine columnist; Vinitaly International Academy Certified Italian Wine Expert; Wine & food consultant; Vinomania Consulting president

Haruo Matsuzaki Japan

Journalist and consultant at Jetro National

Hitoshi Utsunomiya Japan
Jeffrey Jenssen United States

Entertaining and Lifestyle Editor at Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Co-author of RED WINE, winner of Gourmand International Best Wine Book in the World, Wines Of California and Wines of the Southern Hemisphere. Wine Journalist at The World Wine Guys.

Jesse Selvagn Vietnam

Certified Sake Sommelier, Shochu Advisor and Cicerone

Joerg Mueller Germany

Certified Sake Sommelier (SSA), WSET Level 3 Award in Sake, Sake & Shochu Academy (JSS), Co-Owner of UENO GOURMET

Julian Houseman Australia

Freelance Sake writer at Sake Today and Sake Advocate

Junichi Ohyama Japan

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

Kristoffer Tadeo Chua Philippines

Sake importer

Liuliu Xu China

Journalist at “Global Times”

Louis Robuchon Abe Japan
Luca Rendina Italy

Sake Sommelier Associazione Italiana

Marcus Pakiser United States

Importer & Sake Samurai

Matteo Ceravolo China, Hong Kong

Sake Sommelier & General Manager of Sake Central in Hong Kong

Mi Yeun Hong South Korea

Wine columnist – South Korea, Sommelier AIS, ONAV

Michael De Simone United States

Entertaining and Lifestyle Editor, Wine Enthusiast Magazine; Co-author of RED WINE, winner of Gourmand Int’l Award for Best Wine Book in the World. Wine Journalist at World Wine Guys

Pablo Alomar Salvioni Spain

Sake importer in Spain

Patrick Ellis Canada

Sake importer & Sake Samuraï

Rojita Tiwari India

Award winning Beverage Industry Professional, Writer, Educator & Consultant. Founder of Drinks & Destinations, a platform specialising in wine & spirts, travel and hospitality themed content, curated consumer and trade events. Host of India’s first podcast on drinks and travel- The Drinks & Destinations Podcast.

Sophie Lafaye France

Wine&Spirits journalist at Sommeliers International, The Wine Expectation, Luxsure.

Thomas Ling Malaysia

Wine & sprits education, professional writing and trade consultancy development

Thomas Rydberg Denmark

Editor and onwer of winemagazine DinVinGuide and spiritmagazine Whisky & Rom. Winejournalist at Ekstra Bladet (daily newspaper).Studying for a MW.

Vincent Muller Belgium

Sake importer

W. Blake Gray United States

Freelance Wine Writer, SF Chronicle and Wine Spectator

Wei Jen Chen China, Taiwan

Sake Expert

Yorimitsu Morishita Japan

Sake expert

Yutaka Takano Japan

Consultant sommelier at Aeon