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Notes From The Vineyard: Sake is quiet different than South Korean rice wine…

In last week’s article I mention how I sampled a South Korean black raspberry rice wine. I had a number of people ask me why I called it rice wine and not sake. Many people assume that all sake wines are rice wines but after some research I found out that sake is quiet different than the South Korean rice wine that I sampled.

First, I learned that South Korean rice wine is known as takju or cheongju. The traditional way of making takju is to wash the rice numerous times before starting the fermentation process. Then they ferment rice with nuruk (a blend of fungi and yeast that breaks down the starches in the rice into sugar.

Takju also has wheat flour and other grains added to the juice during the fermentation process. After the first time takju is racked (transferred to another tank), more rice is added to boost the alcohol content and flavors.

Sake is done a little differently where the rice is polished until it is about half of its original size. Many people feel that this process gives sake a sweeter taste than takju. However it’s the process of making sake that gives it a sweeter flavor. Traditional sake is made more along the lines of how you would make beer than how you make wine.

Also sake is traditionally higher in alcohol content compared to takju. After sake is done fermenting the alcohol content ranges from 20 – 22% but is diluted to about 15% before being bottled. Takju is fermented around 13% which is closer to a grape wine’s alcohol content.

It was quite interesting in my research on how the different areas in Asia make rice wine and what they call it. So I am on a mission to find a number of different rice wines to compare how each one tastes. If you have had a rice wine that you enjoyed, please let us know!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery feel free to call us at 330.527.4118 or please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

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