PR Times carries a press release for the recent announcement of the President’s Prize and Jury Prizes for Kura Master 2020.

Judging went ahead in Paris on 31 August, where a jury of 51 top sommeliers, including four awarded the prestigious French title meilleur ouvrier de France (MOF, best worker in France), blind tasted the 824 entries received this year.

Gold and platinum medal winners were announced on 10 September 2020, and the rest live online at 11:00 CET/19:00 JST on 4 November 2020. Shortlisted breweries would normally travel to Paris to be there in person, but due to travel restrictions the awards were accepted by Junichi Ihara, Japan’s ambassador to France. Each brewery was present on the live broadcast and winners gave a short comment.

The President’s Prize went to Zaku Satori junmai daiginjō shizukudori from Shimizu Seisaburo Shuzō in Mie, while the six Jury Prizes went to one of the top 5 or top 2 from each category.

  1. Junmai daiginjō category: Senpuku junmai daiginjō Kura, Miyake Honten (Hiroshima)
  2. Junmai category: Chotokusen Shirayuki Edo Genroku no Sake (fukkokushu) genshu, Konishi Shuzō (Hyoto)
  3. Sparkling sake category: Mizubasho Pure, Nagai Shuzō (Gunma)
  4. Yamda Nishiki category (new): Senshō Masamune junmai daiginjō Take ni Suzume, Katsuyama Shuzo (Miyagi)
  5. Omachi category (new): Setoichi Harubaru, Seto Shuzō (Kanagawa)
  6. Dewasansan category (new): Untitled #01, Kojimaya Sōhonten (Yamagata)

President Xavier Thuizat commented that this year had been hard because of the pandemic, so he was full of gratitude to the members of the jury for making it possible to hold the fourth edition of the contest.

He also gave his evaluation of sake that won the President’s Prize, Zaku Satori, describing it as extremely sophisticated and overflowing with elegance, reminiscent of the very best wines served in French restaurants. Its exquisite balance made it suitable to pair with a wide range of French dishes, and noted that a Mie sake had won in the same year that Mie sake was granted a Geographical Indication (GI).

Shinichiro Shimizu, president of winning brewery Shimizu Seisaburo Shōten, commented that winning such a prestigious prize was testament to the work done by their tōji and all their kurabito. The sake was also served at the 2016 Mie Summit. He hopes that the new Mie GI will contribute to increased awareness of sake around the world, and that his sake will bring comfort and joy to all who drink it.

Statistics for this year’s entries and prizes:

Category Platinum medals Gold medals Total prizes (total entries)
Junmai daiginjō 34 71 105 (309)
Junmai 38 79 117 (344)
Sparkling 3 9 12 (41)
Yamada Nishiki 3 15 18 (67)
Omachi 3 11 14 (50)
Dewasansan 3 3 6 (13)
Total 84 188 272 (824)

Junmai ginjō are included in the junmai category.

The top 5 junmai daiginjō (milling ratio 50% or less):

  • Amanoto junmai daiginjō 35, Asamai Shuzō (Akita)
  • Kitanonishiki junmai daiginjō Noren Label Kobayashi Shuzo (Hokkaido)
  • Senpuku junmai daiginjō Kura, Miyake Honten (Hiroshima)
  • Wakamusume Kakitsubata, Shintani Shuzo (Yamaguchi)
  • Zaku Satori junmai daiginjō shizukudori, Shimizu Seisaburo Shuzō (Mie)

The top 5 junmai/junmai ginjō (milling ratio 51% or more):

  • Haneya junmgai ginjō Tomi no Kaori, Fumigiku Shuzō (Toyama)
  • Hayate junmgai ginjō Kaminoho, Goto Shuzō (Mie)
  • Oki Homare junmaishu Muromachi 90, Oki Shuzō (Shimane)
  • Chotokusen Shirayuki Edo Genroku no Sake (fukkokushu) genshu, Konishi Shuzō (Hyoto)
  • Uroko yamahai junmai genshu, Shimazaki Shuten (Tochigi)

The top 2 sparkling sake (abv 10% or more, ingredients water, rice, kōji only):

  • Mizubasho Pure, Nagai Shuzō (Gunma)
  • Shichiken Sparkling Mori no Kanade, Yanamashi Meijō (Yamanashi)

Top 2 Yamada Nishiki (milling ratio 50% or higher):

  • Kihotsuru junmai ginjō Yamada Nishiki, Kiyama Shoten (Saga)
  • Senshō Masamune junmai daiginjō Take ni Suzume, Katsuyama Shuzo (Miyagi)

Top 2 Omachi (milling ratio 50% or higher):

  • Garyubai junmai daiginjō Bizen Omachi, Sanwa Shuzō (Shizuoka)
  • Setoichi Harubaru, Seto Shuzō (Kanagawa)

Top 2 Dewasansan (milling ratio 50% or higher):

  • Untitled #01, Kojimaya Sōhonten (Yamagata)
  • Uyo Kinran junmai ginjō Dewasansan Akaoni, Goto Yasutaro Shuzoten (Yamagata)


Koshu aged 5 years or more (whether labelled as such or not), nigori and namazake could not be entered in any category, and any sparkling sake could not be entered in any other category.


Want Japanese sake news straight to your inbox?

The translations/summaries of Japanese language news articles and other content provided on this site are part of a personal project to increase the amount of information about Japanese sake available in English.

Coverage of an organisation, product or event does not in any way imply approval or endorsement.

All translations/summaries and other content are © 2017-2021 Arline Lyons.

Zurich, Switzerland (CET/CEST)

+41 793 701 408 / +41 44 5866 609