SEPTEMBER 9–11, 2024

Toshio Ueno

Toshio Ueno
Sake School of America

Certified Master of Sake and Master Sake Sommelier. Toshio is the creator of Sake School of America and English Shochu Adviser Certificate program, and only one in the world to hold Master of Sake (酒匠), Master Sake Sommelier (日本酒学講師), and WSET Sake Educator diploma.

Born in Japan where his family has grown Japanese wine grape, Koshu, for generations, Toshio grew up helping the business from a young age. Following his college education in the US and employment at an international trading company in Tokyo, Toshio joined Chateraise, a pastry and wine company as Director of Sales. There, he was put in charge of overseeing the personal wine collection of the company's president, which intrigued him to enter the world of wine stewardship and research.

Toshio joined Mutual Trading Company in 2002, where he is Director of Sake Specialist Department in marketing Japanese foods, Sake, and Shochu to the mainstream American trade. With his passion and expertise in Sake, Shochu, and Wine, Toshio aims to further promote Japanese food and Sake cultures to new, international audiences. Since 2010, he has been Vice President & Executive Instructor at Sake School of America. In 2016 he was awarded the industry’s most prestigious title Sake Samurai from Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association.

And recently February 2021, he was appointed as The Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Honors & Awards:

  • 2021 Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • 2020 Awamori JIbner, Okinawa Awamori Distillers Association
  • 2019 Professionnel du Vin, Chaine des Rottiseurs Chevalier de la Societe Mondiale du Vin, Chaine des Rottiseurs
  • 2019 Board of Director, Society of Wine Educators
  • 2017 Distinguished Service Prize, FBO Japan
  • 2016 Sake Samurai, Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association


  • 日本酒学講師 Master Sake Sommelier / Sake Educator, Sake Service Institute (SSI)
  • 酒匠 Master of Sake, SSI
  • 南部杜氏協会 研究科生 Nanbu Toji Guild Pre-Toji Candidate
  • WSET Certified Sake Educator, Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET)
  • Diploma Candidate, WSET – Level 3 Wine & Spirits and Level 3 in Spirits (WSET)
  • Certified Specialist of Wine, Society of Wine Educators
  • Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers
  • French Wine Scholar, International Wine Guild
  • Spanish Wine Scholar, International Wine Guild
  • Certified Italian Wine Specialist, North American Sommelier Association
  • Certified Shochu Sommelier, SSI
  • Citified Beer Adviser, FBO
  • Cicerone Beer Server, Cicerone


  • International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), Spirits Judge
  • Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition, Wine & Spirits Judge
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition Judge, Spirits Judge
  • San Francisco International Wine Competition, Wine Judge
  • Texsom International Wine Awards, Wine Judge
  • International Wine Challenge (IWC), Wine & Sake Judge
  • CINVE Spain, Spirits Judge
  • TAG Global Spirits Awards, Spirits Judge
  • Las Vegas Global Wine Awards, Wine Judge