What is “SAKURA” Japan Women’s Wine Awards?

Message from Yumi Tanabe, President

田辺由美The judging for the 8th Sakura Japan Women’s Wine Awards was closed.

We are happy to announce that the judging took place as scheduled under challenging circumstances.

Thanks to all the judges and sommeliers who made it possible to carry out the mission.

In previous years the judging took two days in Tokyo by 560 judges.

Last October, we started planning on setting guidelines on safety measures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In previous years, we had judges come from various areas, including Hokkaido and Okinawa.

This year, we had to avoid long-distance travel by the judges and judging was done in Tokyo and Osaka.

We intend to get judges from all over Japan to participate because it will help sell wine and spread the wine culture throughout Japan.

The Sakura Awards has three goals: finding wine suitable for home-cooked meals, increasing wine consumption, and expanding and supporting women working in the wine industry.

During the coronavirus outbreak, dining out has decreased, but the consumption at home has increased. The wine sale at supermarkets, department stores, and internet sales has expanded.

We receive many comments that the Sakura Award seals on wines represent delicious wines chosen by women judges in Japan and an assurance that goes well with their home-cooked meals. 

From retailers, we hear that the Sakura Awards' recognition has gone up, and they are happy to see many returning customers.

Despite this challenging time, we received the most significant amount ever of 4562 items from 32 countries.

This number shows the expectations in the Japanese market from these producers are greater.

We want to move on to future activities so that we can meet that expectation.

We put the utmost effort into conducting judging taking Infection Control Guidance. Thanks to all the judges who responded and cooperated, I believe they have chosen excellent wine selections.

Trade Only - Female Blind Judging Panel

審査会This competition has been judged exclusively by female wine specialists, namely sommeliers, winemakers, wine school educators, journalists, restaurant and beverage directors, retail store buyers, importers and distributors.

Judges 2021

The 8th “SAKURA” Japan Women’s Wine Awards

In 2021, the total entry of 4,562 wines were received from 32 countries, the largest entry ever! This unique competition evaluating wine from around the world from a woman’s perspective has garnered interest globally and has set a new precedent for wine competitions.

The 100 point scale was used for selecting Double Gold, Gold and Silver medals.

Result 2021

“SAKURA” Japan Women’s Wine Awards
About the Awards/Mission/Judges


About the Awards – The largest awards in Asia

The “SAKURA” Awards started its history in 2014 as the first international wine competition judged solely by women in Japan. Chaired by Yumi Tanabe, an active and leading wine educator in our country, the Awards has grown gradually and now become the largest and the most important wine competition in Asia with over 4,000 items entry from across the world. Our competition results always draw keen attention from both Japan and abroad, as it has encouraged the evolvement of new wine selection criteria from Japanese women’s perspective and further activation of wine culture and market in Japan is widely expected.

Please find more about Yumi Tanabe and Wine & Spirits Culture Association in “About us”

Mission – Focus on women’s voice in wine selection

ObjectOur mission consists of three pillars;

  • To select wines to go with Japanese cuisine
  • To increase the annual wine consumption in Japan to 5 liters/person
  • To expand opportunities for women in the wine industry
In Japan, it is typically women who lead wine selection. That’s why we believe wines judged and selected by female experts will lead to consumers’ trust and satisfaction. Aiming to push the boundary of wine market in Japan, our journey will continue in collaboration with you.

Judges – Female wine experts

ObjectOur judges are female experts who lead broad range of wine industries in Japan. Sommeliers, producers, school instructors, journalists, importers, distributors and sales, they are all active female professionals in wine industries.

Wine Category– 100 categories for evaluation

Categories at entry

  1. Still Red Wine
  2. Still White Wine
  3. Still Rose Wine
  4. Sparkling Wine and Semi Sparkling Wine
  5. Fortified Wine
  6. Sweet Wine

Pre-judging procedure

On arrival, entry wines are organized by varietals, production method and other attributes and put into around 100 categories.


  • Sparkling wines, once grouped by varietals, are sorted also by carbonation level, residual sugar and production method.
  • Dessert wines and fortified wines are sorted by residual sugar and production method.

Judging – the early February

  • Scores will be marked out of 100. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver Awards will be given according to the designated scores for each award. Another round of tasting will be held to select Diamond Trophy from Double-Gold winning wines. For more details, please refer “Past Awards Results”
  • Only “varietal”, “vintage” and “price category” are disclosed for blind tasting.
  • Each flight typically consists of 10 to 14 items, sorted by varietals. We have adopted the individual scoring method and not comparative.
  • A judge assesses 40 to 50 items a day.
  • Bouchonne wines will be reassessed.

Award results – Mar. 8 “International Women’s Day”

  • As soon as the assessment is finalized, judging sheets will be submitted for calculation. Regardless of the category, Double-Gold, Gold and Silver winning wines are determined according to the average score.
  • The winners of Double-Gold, Gold and Silver will be announced on the day.
  • Mar.20, Diamond Trophy and Special Awards and Grand-prix will be announced.

Supporters – Embassies and Producers associations

Our effort to foster the wine culture is supported by many organizations, including embassies in Japan, wine producer’s associations, and other related organizations. Our activity reports are broadly disseminated to wine producers via these supporting organizations. To become our supporter is free of charge. Please refer “SUPPORTER” for more details.

Sales Partners– connect Awarded wines to consumers

Sales PartnerMany wine distributors join us as registered sales partners and help promote the Award winning wines broadly with the full understanding of our activity. Through distribution, retail and whole sales, they are contributing the sales of the awarded wines throughout Japan. The registration is free of charge.

Restaurants – where you enjoy Awarded wines

You can enjoy the Award winning wines in many restaurants in Japan. They appreciate the value of our activities and put the Award winning wines on their wine lists. Any restaurants who provide customers with the Awarded wines can register through our website, free of charge.

Award Medallion Seals

meedal logo

ObjectDiamond, Double Gold, Gold and Silver medal seals are available through the Competition office. They help highlight the award the wine has earned on the shelves and in various internet shopping sites.

Sales Parnters

Special Awards, Best Pairing Wine for Asian Cuisine, Grand-Prix

  • The Best Woman Winemaker
  • The Best Wine “ROSE”
  • The Best Japanese Wine
  • The Best Cost Performance Wine
  • The Great Value Sparkling Wine
  • The Best Lesser-known Grape Varieties in Japanese market
  • The Fortified Wineイメージ
  • The Dessert Wine
  • The Best Wine for Asian Foods
    (Sushi, Tempura, Sukiyaki, Yakitori, Teppanyaki, Japanese Pot-Au-Feu, Korean, Chinese and Thai)

If you have any inquiry, please feel free to contact us.


Please click here for any comments or questions.

For the schedule and other detailed information, please refer here.



Wine and Spirits Culture Association
Yumi Tanabe, President

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