Michael’s foray into wine and sake has been 20 years in the making, traveling around the world and using wine and sake as a lens for learning about the history and culture of different regions. Michael began his formal wine education with the International Sommelier Guild (Level I and II) before finding a passion for sake, Japan’s ancient national beverage.
In 2010, Michael trained with world renowned sake educator John Gauntner in New York and Tokyo, becoming Ontario’s first certified Advanced Sake Professional (ASP). He enjoys traveling to Japan whenever he can and has worked in renowned sake breweries in Niigata, Shizuoka, Shimane and Gifu prefectures, practicing his ‘work-in-progress’ Japanese and learning from the Toji (master brewers).
Michael is the Head Judge for the Toronto International Sake Challenge and has had the opportunity of judging at the International Wine Challenge in Japan and London. In addition, Michael was an organizer and Head Judge for Canada’s first ever sake competition, the Toronto International Sake Challenge, where he evaluated ~200 sake samples alongside five esteemed judges.
In October 2018 Michael was inducted as a Sake Samurai, a distinction held by only 70 people at that time.
Michael is currently the Head National Sake Sommelier for Ki Modern Japanese + Bar, where he manages the largest sake list in Canada. He is dedicated to being Ki’s ambassador for sake, educating guests and staff alike in the beauty and subtle art of sake, wine and food.