Michael’s foray into wine and sake has been 25 years in the making, traveling around the world and using wine and sake as a lens for learning about the history and culture of different regions. Michael is one of 70 Sake Samurai in the world, a title bestowed by the Japan Sake and Shochu Maker’s Association at Kyoto’s 1300 year old shrine to sake, the Matsunoo Taisha. He is the co-author of the forthcoming book on sake “Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake: Rice, Water, Earth” which will be released on March 8, 2022 and published by Tuttle. Moreover, he is a seasoned sake judge, having assessed sake in Japan, London and Hawaii for the International Wine Challenge and US National Sake Appraisal.
Michael enjoys traveling to Japan whenever he can and has worked in renowned sake breweries in Niigata, Shizuoka, Shimane and Gifu prefectures, practicing his ‘work-in-progress’ Japanese and learning from the Toji (master brewers). His experiences visiting more than 80 sake breweries throughout the country culminated in the development of the Sake Scholar Course, a course dedicated to exploring every sake region in Japan in detail. Michael is currently the Sake Sommelier for Ki Modern Japanese + Bar, where he manages the largest sake program in Canada. He is dedicated to being Ki’s ambassador for sake, educating guests and staff alike in the beauty and subtle art of sake, wine and food.
Having been lucky enough to travel extensively throughout the world’s most famous wine regions and every corner of Japan’s sake world, I make it a point to connect the topics at hand
in the course with stories that shed a little more light on these subjects. In essence, I want each student to feel like they have travelled to those regions and in doing so, make a myriad connections for the student with what they need to know for the exam.
Set yourself up for success! In advance of a course, block time each week for study and don’t let anything interfere with this study time. The steady ‘rhythm’ of a constant study period is hugely beneficial to staying on top of the learning objectives and ensure you don’t feel left behind.