Sake Connect founder Melissa Mills’s 10-year sake journey began with a fascination for Japanese culture, language and cuisine but it was one snowy winter’s day in Gifu prefecture’s sleepy Mizunami village when passion turned to dedication.
Standing in the aromatic warmth of a cedar clad Koji room, in the eaves of 300-year-old Nakashima Sake Brewery, she was offered a handful of rice, covered in silky tendrils of white mould, and invited to eat.
Struck with a sudden thirst for deeper understanding Melissa continued exploring Japan and sake whilst intensively studying the language. In 2016 she formalised her relationship with sake by completing WSET level 3 sake qualifications with Yukino Ochiai; Australia’s first sake educator and female Sake Samurai.
After winning The International Wine Challenge Award in Sake in 2017 Melissa attended London’s WSET Global Graduation and Awards Ceremony receiving the prize of participating on the judging team at the 2018 International Wine Challenge Sake Competition held in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan.
Her involvement in this prestigious event, connecting with Sake brewers from all over Japan and industry leaders from around the globe, not to mention sampling her way through some of the 1630 interesting bottles of sake, only highlighted her desire to share her knowledge and experience.
Bringing new energy and perspective, Sake Connect is a boutique agency that demystifies, inspires and focuses on enjoyment for sake curious audiences Australia-wide.