May 13, 2020

Episode 07: Importing Sake with Monica Samuels

Sake is one of the world’s most versatile beverages. So why do most people only drink it with sushi? Monica Samuels is one of our country’s most passionate sake educators and has helped build US demand for sake through her leadership at Vine Connections. This week, she and Chris talk about the logistics of importing, the basics in umami pairing, as well as the friction between innovation and tradition in brewing.


Monica serves as Director of Sake & Spirits for Vine Connections, which has been importing sake since 2001. Born in LA to a Japanese mother and an American father, Monica grew up around sake and eventually became one of our country’s leading experts on the beverage. Previously, Monica served as the sake sommelier and corporate buyer for the restaurant group SUSHISAMBA as well as the Sake Brand Ambassador for Southern Wines & Spirits. Monica annually judges for the US National Sake Appraisal and helped develop the coursework for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Sake Award Sake and has lectured on sake for the Culinary Institute of America’s academic program. 

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