A quick look back at the 2018 International Wine Challenge (IWC) sake division, this time with a Sankei Biz article that names the trophy winners and gives numbers for entries in each category.

The trophies were announced at an awards lunch held on 18 May 2018 in Yamagata. I'd seen before that there were 456 companies and 1,639 sake entered this year, but hadn't seen the breakdown of numbers by category before.

Category: Futshūshu
  • Entries: 76
  • Trophy winner: Tentaka Uma-kara, Tentaka Shuzō
Category: Honjōzō
  • Entries: 75
  • Trophy winner: Hatsumago Denshō Kimoto, Tōhoku Meijō
Category: Junmai
  • Entries: 337
  • Trophy winner: Junmaishu Gekkyū, Nagurayama Shuzō
Category: Junmai Ginjō
  • Entries: 323
  • Trophy winner: Fumotoi Junmai Ginjō Yamada Nishiki, Fumotoi Shuzō
Category: Junmai Daiginjō
  • Entries: 440
  • Trophy winner: Kinsuzume 40%, Horie Sakaba
Category: Ginjō
  • Entries: 40
  • Trophy winner: Okunomatsu Adatara Ginjō, Okunomatsu Shuzō
Category: Daiginjō
  • Entries: 223
  • Trophy winner: Miyanoyuki Daiginjō, Miyazaki Honten
Category: Koshu
  • Entries: 59
  • Trophy winner: Daikoshu Furudokei, Kamogawa Shuzō
Category: Sparkling
  • Entries: 66
  • Trophy winner: Suzune Wabi, Ichi no Kura

I wasn't so surprised to see low numbers for futsūshu and honjōzō, as they're not seen as "premium" while the IWC is kind of a premium competition. But I was surprised at the large number of non-ginjō junmai, and low number of ginjō. Koshu and sparkling sake are still reasonably uncommon as far as I know, so it was nice to see plenty of entries there.

The overall winner of the sake division will be announced at the IWC awards dinner on 10 July 2018, and I'll be at the trophy winners tasting held the night before at the Embassy of Japan in London!

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