Sommelier insights: Wine and sake with Tokyo-based Wayne Shennen
Sommelier Wayne Shennen is a Certified Sommelier and the first New Zealander to achieve certification as an Advanced Sake Professional.
Wayne has worked in hospitality in Australia and New Zealand since 2002. And in 2019, Wayne and his Japanese wife, Makie, relocated to Japan to open a sake and wine bar, Rangitoto Tokyo.
The venture seemed well timed to capitalise on the Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but Wayne and Makie could never have predicted that ‘other’ global event.
Wayne is also the author of the e-book, Demystifying Sake, which you can find on Amazon, and he has worked in sake breweries in Ishikawa, Saga, and Gifu prefectures.
On a mission to get more New Zealand and Australian wines into the hands of Japanese wine buffs, Wayne is also passionate about raising sake’s undervalued reputation as the stuff of dodgy Hollywood binges (Tom Cruise has a lot to answer for).
I asked him how Japanese sake piqued his interest such that he came to devote his career to the beverage.
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