What is Sake? Discover Wine's Spirited Sibling...
What is Sake? Discover Wine's Spirited Sibling...

Does Japanese rice wine really have much to do with wine at all? Here's what you need to know.

Does Japanese "rice wine" really have much to do with wine at all? Here's what you need to know.


Sake is a traditional Japanese drink made from fermented rice that has been enjoyed for centuries in Japan and all around the world. In fact, while its exact origin is a bit of a mystery, it's believed that the process of turning rice into alcohol made its way to Japan from China around 500BCE!


Even though sake is often referred to as rice wine, it's actually made through a brewing process that’s more similar to beer. Instead of fermenting sugar from fruit like wine, sake is made by converting starch into sugar and then into alcohol.  But sake doesn't have that much more in common than that with beer. Sake is made from rice, water, koji, yeast and sometimes brewer's alcohol. Beer is made from grains such as barley or hops (and yeast). Sake also undergoes a two-step parallel fermentation process, while beer and wine (except for some sparkling wines) have a single-step process. So the art of making Sake is truly one of its own.


Sake can range in flavour from crisp and clean to rich and fruity and is often served with Japanese cuisine. Compared to wine, it tends to have higher levels of alcohol (13-20% ABV), a fuller rounder body, and much lower levels of acidity. Sake also doesn't have tannin and is very rarely built to age. Learn how to taste sake like the pro's here!


Much like wine, Sake can pair with a wide array of foods, is typically enjoyed chilled or at room temperature, and there’s great care and craft put into every bottle. So if you're feeling adventurous and want to try something new, give sake a shot!

Want to learn more about Sake? Check out all our Sake 101 Guides!

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