Meet our Sake Ambassadors and Young Sake Ambassadors of the Year!

Sake Ambassadors


Corinne Mui has contributed to sake education through her sake courses at AWSEC, and she has been greatly influential, introducing many wine fans to the sake world. Corinne captures the interest of wine aficionados on account of her impressive wine education and numerous qualifications; she has also visited numerous sake breweries in Japan.

“I am very pleased, honoured and humbled to get this award; so very grateful to everyone. I cannot wait to share my sake passion to the world, my students, my friends and everybody in Asia … In the future I think we would like to see more and more sake to be available in Hong Kong because right now we’re a super super premium market … I would like to see a more diversified range in the market to be enjoyed by everybody.”

Young Sake Ambassador 2018


Francesco Contento was born in Monopoli in Italy and grew up in the hospitality environment helping his father at his three restaurants. Francesco grew to love this world and later decided to pursue it in his academic life. After 5 years of school, his curiosity to find new inspiration led him to leave his family home and to travel to new countries. Four years ago, Francesco moved to London and started to work for Partridges, which proved to be the perfect environment in which to grow. He discovered new products, new methods, and plenty of new things to learn. Francesco has been given the opportunity to major in the wine sector, and this is something that he is now pursuing with dedication and passion.

About the Awards

Sake Ambassadors

Every two years one individual will be honoured for their outstanding dedication to the world of sake. You will have been doing your bit for sake diplomacy, contributing to the understanding and appreciation of sake throughout your country. We will take great pride in bestowing you with the title of Sake Ambassador!

Young Sake Ambassador of the Year

The aim of this award is to bring a fresh mind-set into the sake industry worldwide. The selected Young Sake Ambassador of the Year will be expected to spend a year contributing to the promotion of sake worldwide.

The awardee of the Young Sake Ambassador of the Year will be immersed in sake culture through SSA’s popular Introductory Sake Professional and Certified Sake Sommelier courses. Together worth over £600 the total cost will be covered by the organisers.

The Young Sake Ambassador of the Year will be asked to speak about plans for the coming year and will be required to give a presentation of their accomplishments at the following year’s award ceremony.

How to Enter:

Do you work in the wine and spirits industry and want to broaden your horizons? Are you a Japanese culture enthusiast searching for a specific field to become an expert in? Or do you simply love sake?

Application is open to anyone aged between 18 and 30 without prior education in sake. However, applicants must be based in London or are able to self-finance their travel to London to attend events and courses organised by the SSA.

If you are interested in applying for the next Young Sake Ambassador of the Year, please email

The Organisers:

Sake is steadily becoming the trendy choice of beverage around the world. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics draws near, Japanese culture is expected to gain an even wider audience around the world. In response to this global trend, and with the success of the Sake Sommelier of the Year, SAKE SOMMELIER ASSOCIATION has partnered with JAPAN JIZAKE COOPERATIVE (one of the most dynamic and innovative sake associations in Japan) to establish two new sake titles.

The Japan Jizake Cooperative was established in 1975 by a group of sake breweries across Japan under the authorisation of the Minister of Finance to create a business model for promoting locally sourced sake. The word Jizake, which translated literally means “sake of the land,” was coined by the cooperative. It has been defined as sake made with locally sourced quality ingredients, loved by the people of that region; colloquially “The local brew”. The Cooperative continues to contribute to the promotion of Jizake in Japan and abroad.

The Sake Sommelier Association (SSA) is an independent organisation formed to develop the understanding and appreciation of Japanese sake through education. It is the first organisation to offer English sake education in the UK, with educators providing sake courses from beginners to professional level in over 20 cities, we have nurtured over 1,000 certified sake sommeliers over the world. Our hope is to become the communication platform for the Sake experts and lovers in the world.

The Venue:

The event will be held at the prestigious Millennium Hotel. This stylish hotel is located in Knightsbridge, one of London’s most exclusive and fashionable districts.

Previous Ambassadors

  • Young Sake Ambassador 2016

    Jacopo Armenio is a Sales Executive from Italy and fan of Japanese culture, who developed a passion for sake when he tasted some while living with Japanese people. He took a trip to Japan to visit a brewery and try sake from a variety of different regions. He loves the versatility of sake, and its rich history, and would like to build a worldwide network of sake fans and sommeliers.
  • winner2016

    “Sake, light in colour, full of flavour”

  • Sake Ambassador 2015・2016

    François Lavergne’s (pictured left) passion for sake began more than 20 years ago when he was sent to Tokyo as a trained oenologist to open Cordon Bleu’s third international cooking school. It was there he fell in love with the country, both for its culture and history as well as its sake. As one of the first to make sake centred events across the world (from Dubai to France and beyond) François created new pairings that saw sake paired with both chocolate and macaroons. He also designed new takes on classic cocktails devising drinks such as the Sake Spritz.

  • winner2016

    “It is nice to know that your efforts are being recognised. It has been a long road getting sake appreciation this far and I am very grateful to be honoured for my work. I hope in a few years it will be Mai, or Miguel standing where I am today as the Sake Ambassador”.

  • Young Sake Ambassador 2015

    Mai. E Segawa (pictured left) is from Washington, D.C. Mai was born on March 3rd, on Japanese Girl’s Day (also known as Hinamatsuri) a holiday that celebrates the empowerment of young women with the traditional drink shiro sake, Mai recently graduated from the University of Oxford with her Master’s degree in Migration Studies. She is currently working at her father’s Japanese restaurant, Tako Grill in the Washington D.C.-Metropolitan area.

  • winner2014
    “ I am very honoured. It is a special chance to see inside the once mysterious world of the sake industry that a young person like me would not normally have access to.”

    Sake Ambassadors



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