IWC rice wine category sees boom

The International Wine Challenge has seen a surge in sake entries for 2007.

A total 228 sakes are compet ing for the sake trophy .

Judging the competition will be IWC co-chairman Sam Harrop, who recently became Europe's first Sake Samurai, along with three sake experts from Japan.

An IWC spokeswoman said: "With an increased awareness of sake's diversity of styles it's fitting that this year sake looks set to ignite fierce competition at the International Wine Challenge." All the entries that don't have a UK distributor can be tasted at the Discovery Tasting on May 2 at The Barbican , London.

In a move to push Sake's growing popularity in the UK, 10 of Japan's leading Kuramoto or brewery owners will lead an educational sake seminar at the International Wine and Spirit Centre on April 16.

A gourmet food and sake matching evening will also take place on April 17 at U mu restaurant in London. Among the rare styles matched to a five course meal will be a plum sake called Umeshu, a low-alcohol sake and a cloudy sake called Nigori.

For ticket information contact Sarah Canet on 0207 610 9821.