Toshio Ueno

Toshio Ueno

Senior specialist


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

Born in Japan where his family has grown the 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 inspired 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, in February 2021, he was appointed as The Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and in August 2023, he received Foreign Minister’s Commendation from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Honors & Awards:
2023 Foreign Minister’s Commendation from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2022 Ambassador of Yamanashi, Yamanashi Prefectural Government
2021 Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

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
Shochu Meister, Kagoshima Renaissance Academy, Kagoshima University
DipWSET (Level 4), Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET)
WSET Certified Level 3 Sake & Level 3 Spirits Educator, WSET
WSET Level 3 in Spirits, WSET
Certified Specialist of Wine, Society of Wine Educators
Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers
French Wine Scholar, Wine Scholar Guild
Spanish Wine Scholar, Wine Scholar Guild
Certified Italian Wine Specialist, North American Sommelier Association
Certified Sherry Wine Specialist, Wine Scholar Guild & Sherry Regulatory Council