ＷＩＮＥＴワイン会は WINE, INTERNET, NETWORKをコンセプトに毎月3０名前後の人数でワイン会を行っています。
Sakama Akihiko and WINET
The monthly wine-tasting club, called WINET, which I founded in May 1998, greeted the 200th anniversary in January 2015. Every once a month I have been organizing fabulous wine-tasting parties at the most famous restaurants in Tokyo.
In commemoration of our 100th wine party we booked the restaurant "La Table de Joel Robuchon" and Mr. Haruo Kenmotsu, the vice-chairman at Japan Sommelier Association (J.S.A) joined our party together with 72 members. Our 200th anniversary party was held at “Rive Degli Etruschi” and 108 people participated including many famous people such as Professor Dr.Takuji Shirasawa holder of Commandory du Bordeaux title, wine advisor and nutritionist Daniela Shiga, world famous Olympic skier, mountain climber and adventurist Gota Miura who recently climbed mount Everest together with his 85 years old father, several politicians, writers and people of culture interested in wine and health and anti-aging.
My encounter with wine goes back to university student days, when I joined the wine club of Chuo University, some 35 years ago. I learned the history of wine and I became interested in it’s future, especially in Japan, where we did not have a culture of it, so I decided to spread the wine knowledge to my friends and this amplified during the years into what today is the most famous wine-tasting club of Japan, a true cultural legacy of wine communication.
After graduation of university, I entered the most famous beer and wine importing Japanese company Kirin-Seagram Ltd(K.S.L), and took both the Wine Adviser qualification (J.S.A.Member No.214) and Sommelier qualification（J.S.A Member No. 12,359）. I thoroughly enjoyed my work because it enabled me to get further knowledge about the culture of wine, while I was in charge of marketing / the training of the wine in KSL.
My wine club, WINET’s concept and name is a fusion of "WINE”, “INTERNET” and “NETWORK" and it’s purpose is the cross-cultural association of people enjoying delicious taste of wine and food.
I have been holding WINET Club Party uninterruptedly every month from May 1998 and each time 30-40 people participate. The total number of participants is probably way over 5000 people. The people joining our club come from various walks of life and age spreads from very young to quite elderly. Our eldest participant is a famous pharmaceutical university professor of 85 years old. I guess his longevity is red wine, as he hilariously points it every time.
As the matching of the wine and the dinner is the important theme of my wine party, I carefully select the chef, the restaurant, the ingredients and the matching wines. I also held one party at my home in May 2003. My wife, who worked at Suntory, the major whisky and wine company before our marriage, very much enjoyed cooking with my wines selection. Moreover, what really makes me happy is the many gratitude and encouragement emails and letters received from the participants over the years. WINET has been actively meeting for 18 years now and I plan to continue for the rest of my life.
My current project
I have been approached by a solar company president to design a winery that will take advantage of solar panels to get more sunshine. Since my dream has always been to own a winery and to invite friends of the wine club, this proposition turned into an amazing project that will be finalized hopefully in the near future. The concept is close to the French Chateau but with a touch of Japanese culture. All the facilities will be free-energy based, build to use solar power and will include an amazing natural hot spring, a pension with a classy restaurant, the vineyard and a winery. I will be the king of my castle and you are invited to come!