1. Overview

The Osaka Sake Awards 2022 (Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, and Wakayama Prefectures) are held in accordance with the following aims:

  1. (1) Conduct annual quality examinations of sake made within the Kansai region, and notify entrants of their evaluation results in the fall.
  2. (2) Encourage the advancement, development, and quality improvement of sake making technology by disclosing the results of sake entries to parties involved in sake making.
  3. (3) Contribute to the development of the sake industry.

The Kansai region, which includes Osaka City, Kobe City, and Kyoto City, is well known for its sake consumption, and both Nada (Coastal Nishinomiya City and Kobe City) and Fushimi (southern Kyoto City) are Japan's leading sake producing areas. The Kansai region possesses state-of-the-art technology for sake making, and is well known for producing high-quality sakes.

The Kansai region extends from the Sea of Japan, with its colder oceanic climate, to the Pacific Ocean, with its milder climate. Consequently, there are a large number of breweries that produce a wide variety of rich, mellow, and crisp sakes.

2. Sake Entries

(1) Ginjo-shu

Ginjo-shu(“Labeling Standards for the Manufacturing Process and Quality of Sake [National Tax Agency Notice No. 8, 1989]”) produced during the 2021 brewing year (July 2021 to June 2022).

(2) Warmed sake

Warmed sake made using rice with a rice-polishing ratio of at least 60%, with no limitation on brewing year.

3. Quality Evaluations

(1) Evaluation dates

September 26 (Monday), 27 (Tuesday) and 30 (Friday), 2022

(2) Evaluation venue

Alcoholic Beverage Evaluation Office and Analysis Room, Fourth Floor, Osaka National Government Building No. 3

(3) Evaluation methods

Evaluations were conducted by a panel of 55 judges (individuals under the age of 65 years at the time of the quality assessments with broad knowledge and expertise in the quality assessment of alcoholic beverages, such as staff members of prefectural brewing-related organizations and toji, or master sake brewers).

Ginjo-shu was evaluated at room temperature (approximately 20°C), and warmed sake was evaluated at approximately 45°C after heating in a vessel containing water at 50-52°C.

(4) Evaluation standards

Overall quality was evaluated for the following qualities of sake deemed to be “good”.

Ginjo-shu: Harmony of aroma and flavor that is distinctive of ginjo-shu and present in a matured and mellow taste.

Warmed sake: Harmony of aroma and flavor that elicits a desire that cannot be sated.

4. Status of Entries

(Unit: entries, sites)
Prefecture Category Actual number of sites
Ginjo-shu Warmed sake Total
Shiga7 8 15 8
Kyoto 21 15 36 22
Osaka 6 4 10 6
Hyogo 29 32 61 35
Nara 9 10 19 12
Wakayama 6 6 12 6
Total 78 75 153 89

5. Trends in Sake Quality among Entries

In the 2021 brewing year, lower temperatures and fewer hours of sunshine in August made it slightly easier for the rice to dissolve. On the other hand, while winter temperatures during the main brewing season were normal or slightly higher, temperatures in January and February, which is the peak season for ginjo production, trended lower. Given these circumstances, sake producers outdid themselves in their application of sake making techniques mastered through rigorous daily training and their observance of appropriate storage methods even during this year's extremely hot summer, so that many of the sakes exhibited proved to be of superior quality, with just the right balance of aroma and flavor.

(1) Ginjo-shu

This year's entries were uniformly excellent, even as they represented a variety of different types, from the recently popular style of flowery, aromatic, moderately sweet, and easy-drinking sake to more traditional styles characterized by a gentle bouquet, full flavor, and satiny mouthfeel all blended in perfect harmony.

(2) Warmed sake

Despite the rich variety of types - some light and refreshing, some full and robust, some crisp with a rich tartness, some mellow with soft sweetness, and some conveying a confidence that comes with aging - this year's entries shared the common element of tasting even better when warmed, so that they never failed to invite another sip.

6. Conferment of Prizes

Breweries whose entries received superior scores for quality were awarded the Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau Commissioner's “Excellence Prize”.

7. List of “Excellence Prize” Recipient Breweries