Sake often requires very specific conditions to brew effectively, and this is well worth considering if you have been looking to invest in premium sake. But why are the winter months the main brewing seasons for premium-quality Japanese sake wine, and what impact might this have on the final quality of the drinks themselves?
Why Winter is the Main Sake Brewing Season in Japan
When we think about brewing sake, there’s a lot that can come to mind – the quality of ingredients and the expertise of the Toji, mainly. However, there’s more to top-class sake than these factors alone, and it’s often important to consider the weather and brewing conditions as much as the wine ingredients alone.
In line with this, the vast majority of top-quality sake tends to be made during the winter months. Of course, sake is still brewed year-round, but the vast majority of sake is brewed during winter. And furthermore, it’s well worth considering that sake wine is brewed to a far higher standard during the winter months.
Why is this? Well, the quality of sake brewed during the winter months largely comes down to the fact that brewing conditions are far easier to manage when the weather is cooler. This allows manufacturers to produce high-quality sake to a much higher standard with lower risks of issues arising.
Notably, it’s worth keeping in mind that winter brewing primarily focuses on specialist sake varieties, such as ginjo shu. These varieties are often very difficult to create, requiring highly specific fermentation conditions, and these can be hard to manage in most scenarios. However, when the weather turns cold, keeping a close eye on the conditions is significantly easier as well.
Pressure on Staff
In many cases, the winter months offer the optimal sake wine brewing opportunities – but there’s a catch here. Indeed, due to the amazing conditions for brewing sake that are offered over winter, many sake breweries take the opportunity to ramp up production and begin making high volumes of top-class, valuable sake. However, for the workers, this represents a major challenge, since the amount of time and work involved during the winter months suddenly goes up.
Without a doubt, we have to give credit to the amazing workers at sake breweries for all of their input, dedication, and determination during the winter months.
If you’re a lover of premium-quality sake, there’s a good chance that your sake may have been made during the winter months in Japan. Indeed, in many cases, late October marks a turning point in Japanese sake wine production, and critically, this offers the ideal opportunity for many brewers to make sake wine of an uncompromisingly high grade overall.
So, the next time you look to buy premium sake wine, make sure you check the brewing date. If your sake was made during the winter, there’s a good chance it’ll be a cut above the rest! Or, if you decide to pay a visit to Japan during this exciting time, make sure you stop by one of the exceptional sake breweries in the region to discover first-hand just how much love and care goes into making this delicious drink!