Held on the 25th November, this Virtual Tasting brought together aficionados from the words of wine and spirits for a fascinating virtual masterclass and tasting led by Sarah Abbott MW. Sarah is an expert on Japanese wine, and became bitten by the sake bug while researching wines in Japan. Her perspective is as a wine lover discovering sake, and the ways in which its rich heritage and culture and diverse, nuanced styles have both parallels and contrasts with wine.
Gunma is a land-locked prefecture, famous in Japan for its unspoiled beauty, strong agricultural traditions, snowy mountains, pure water, hot springs, and Wagyu beef, of which Gunma is considered to produce the best examples in Japan. Sake production here is characterised by many smaller sake breweries with a wide diversity of approaches and styles. While all breweries sell directly to many of Tokyo’s top restaurants, and via their “cellar door”, exports are new, but growing.
Here to an article, ‘Why Gunma Craft Sake is worth putting on your buying radar’ in The Buyer
Gunma Craft Sake is an initiative of JETRO Gunma that seeks to bring these characterful, independent producers to a wider audience.
“Thanks for inviting me to such an interesting tasting. I must also say it was extremely well organised and run. Well done.”
Christine Parkinson @ChrisWineSake
“I just wanted to convey my thanks for pulling together yesterday’s session on Gunma Sake – what a challenge, with the connection to Japan and the interpreters. It was extraordinary and very much appreciated. Thank you once more for this amazing opportunity.”
“Many thanks for yesterday’s Gunma Sake tasting – fascinating. Thanks again for your time and for asking me along. I enjoyed them all.”
Robin Naylor Product development manager for Boutinot Ltd & Invino
“Thank you for today! Lovely interesting sakes from Gunma. Fab variety of surprisingly different styles albeit from a small area of Japan. I was particularly impressed by Tsuchida. Well done for organising this. The sakes all arrived perfectly too. Really enjoyed the session.
Marie Cheong-ThongWSET Certified Educator | JSS (Japan) Certified Educator | Board Director British Sake Association | SSI Shochu Certified Educator | Council Member Assoc. of Wine Educators | Member Circle of Wine Writers | Panel Chair International Spirit Challenge
“Thank you again for the Japanese wine tasting invitation. As usual it’s super professional, well-organised, interactive and fun. I learned a lot and enjoyed the Japanese hamper. That is so generous. I look forward to participating to the next wine tasting!
April 2020 saw the launch of Swirl in the Cloud, a series of webinars and virtual tastings for Trade & Press, wine lovers and aficionados alike.
Our first virtual wine event was for the National Wine Agency of Georgia, on 23rd April (St George’s day, by happy coincidence). “Georgian Wine Essentials” was attended by 100 wine professionals from the UK, US and beyond, and covered the fundamentals of Georgian wine terroir, varieties, producers and techniques.
During this fascinating webinar, we looked at how ancient wine informs modern day Georgia, and explored why Georgian wine is expanding so quickly in the UK. Through an a presentation led by Sarah Abbott MW and questions and answers we looked at Georgian’s answer to popular styles such as Malbec and Pinot Grigio, and explored the historical and contemporary relevance of unique Georgian specialities, such as Amber Wine made in clay Qvevri.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
You can view and download the powerpoint presentation from the event here. (This presentation includes the speaker notes, reading lists, and information on producers and importers:
Here is the link to some answers to questions that we missed, or needed to check up on:
The website Georgianwine.uk also has useful information on Georgian wine regions, grape varieties, producers, etc.
“It was excellent. I learnt so much from Sarah in that short time. The format with questions worked v well and now I am dying to go to Georgia!”
“I really enjoyed the webinar this morning, first time I’ve felt fully engaged in something for a while”
“Thank you so much for this morning’s presentation, it was fascinating and the proof is that there were so many questions. The webinar really made my week.”
“Hope you’re both well and thanks for organising the webinar, it was greatly informative and so interesting!”
“Thanks for yesterday – great info and I learnt a lot about the areas.”
Winifred B - Wine, Food and Lifestyle Writer
“Thanks so much for yesterday and please thank Sarah on my behalf for a very interesting and illuminating presentation.”
Victor M - Wine Educator
“Just wanted to say thanks for the webinar on Georgian wines last week. Really fascinating and so much to learn! Looking forward to future seminars, thanks again.”