2020 JSA Sake Diploma Exam Date Announced!

The 2020 JSA Sake Diploma Exam will be held at Sake School of America in Los Angeles, and at New York Mutual Trading in Secaucus, NJ on October 19th, 2020.

We will also be offering a 3-Day preparation course for this exam via Zoom on Aug. 24th-26th. Sign-ups will be available soon! Please contact info@sakeschoolofamerica.com for more information.

The Japan Sommelier Association (JSA) was formed in 1969 with the objective of furthering better understanding of wine and other beverages and for their promotion in Japan. The word sommelier is more often associated with wine but in recent years the JSA has focused on Sake and developed the Sake Diploma certification. The Sake Diploma is now one of the most famous and prestigious qualifications in Japan. Sake School of America is the exclusive provider of the JSA Sake Award Diploma Exam offered once a year around International Sake Day, in the North America.

The Japan Sommelier Association administers the Sake Diploma exam for those hoping to become certified sommeliers. The exam covers both sake and shochu with the aim to provide a deeper understanding of sake and support the promotion of Japanese food culture. Certified JSA Sake Diploma International holders are also eligible to participate to the Sake Diploma Competition organized by JSA every three years.

As of 2020, there are only four people in the United States who have successfully passed this exam. Here at the Sake School of America, we are proud to have these four individuals on our teaching staff.

Timothy Sullivan is the founder of UrbanSake.com, a resource for sake professionals and enthusiasts. Designated as Sake Samurai from Japan Sake Brewers Association in 2007, he also completed a one year sake brewing internship in 2017 at Hakkaisan Sake Brewery in Niigata Japan, and currently works for them as a Global Brand Ambassador.

Timothy is at the forefront of sake education, both to the general public and also to industry professionals.  He combines first hand knowledge of sake brewing techniques along with a deep understanding of the sake industry.  Based in New York City.

Sara Guterbock currently works for Johnson Brothers as their Japanese Portfolio Manager and Regional Training Manager. Her extensive list of certifications not only include her sake credentials with teaching SSI International Kikisake-shi, being one of the proofreaders for 2019 JSA Sake Diploma Textbook and WSET Level 3 Sake Certification but also in wine. She has completed WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and is a certified wine educator.

Rachel Fiekowsky is our new Shochu Instructor, an SSI International Kikisake-shi, and holds Sake Education Council’s Advanced Sake Professional. She is heavily involved in product review and business development on the East side of the United States as a Japanese Beverage Specialist for New York Mutual Trading.

Sachiko Miyagi, Lead instructor for Sake School of America, was involved in proofreading the 2019 JSA Sake Diploma Textbook along with Sara Guterbock after obtaining certification in 2018. She is a SSI Master Sake Sommelier, Shochu instructor, Certified WSET Level 3 Sake Educator, and holds Sake Education Council’s Advanced Sake Professional.

She recently was selected as one of 15 professionals around the world to join Japan Sake and Shochu Maker’s Association’s one-week Academy to further her studies in both Sake and Shochu. Her previous experience in working for a craft Sake brewery in Seattle has connected her to many passionate individuals working to further the appreciation of the craft.

These four extraordinary folks share a passion for sake and are devoted to sharing their knowledge across the United States and beyond.