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Back to the Mainichi Newspaper again, this time for an announcement that another wine competition is opening a sake division.

Held in a different country every year, the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB) was started in 1994, and the 2016 competition had over 320 specialist judges from 50 countries and nearly 9,000 entries from 51 countries.

Judge performance has been monitored and evaluated since 2004 by an independent university statistics research team, and the competition also takes care to evaluate medal winners again later to make sure the wine is still as good as it was.

The CMB announced at a press conference in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, on 9 March that they will create a sake division in the contest, with the first evaluation being held in October 2018 and hosted by the city of Toba in Mie Prefecture. Chairman of the awarding committee, French sake educator and Sake Samurai Sylvain Huet, said they would be looking for sake that would go down well overseas.

CMB reports that their medals boost wine sales by up to 40%, so hopefully the familiar label will also encourage people to pick up an unfamiliar sake.

The sake arm of the competition will be managed by the HRI Research Institute, based in Tsu, and is expected to be held annually in Japan. It’s said to be the first time an overseas group has held every competition in Japan.