Chloé Cazaux Grandpierre

Founder & CEO of Chloe&Wines, as well as Otsukimi - Buveurs de Lune,
Companies specialized in wine tourism and wine promotion but also saké and Japanese beverages distribution, respectively.
The only one female certified sake educator in France by SSA (Sake Sommelier Association)


Interview with Miho Imada-san from Imada Shuzo


I had the chance to meet Miho Imada-san a few years ago at the Salon du Saké in Paris. Since then, I have followed her rise and I admit adoring her sakés especially Fukucho Seafood which is a delight with oysters from the Bassin d'Arcachon! I am therefore delighted to have exchanged with the one who is now recognized on the international scene for her role in this saké universe. Talented woman, she is always smiling and dynamic, but don’t be mistaken as she is the boss of her Maison, the one who takes the decisions and co-writes the future of Hiroshima as an essential destination for great quality Ginjos.



Photo by Kosuke Mae



1) Can you introduce yourself?


I am the fourth generation of my family in the world of Japanese saké: our Maison Imada Shuzo dates back from 1868. I studied at the University in Tokyo and lived in the capital city for almost ten years. I used to work in the Noh Theater: my last project was to bring the Noh to the Festival d'Avignon in France. I finally joined my family in Hiroshima during the winter 1994 and since then I have been working here.




2) Why did you decide to embrace Toji's profession?


Several circumstances made me become Toji. First, the world of saké has known troubled times: in the 2000s, the government of Prime Minister Mr. Koizumi made deep reforms and I wondered how we were going to survive. At the same time, I was 33 years old, and I asked myself a lot of questions. What do you want to do with your life? I questioned myself because I wanted to be financially independent but not through marriage. It was also the time when my father had to pass it on to the next generation: so, I seized the opportunity to become a business owner and to go further in my life.




3) Was it difficult as a woman?


In the 1990s, Toji's work was seasonal: he trained his team and arrived in the Kura to make saké during the winter. However, it was increasingly difficult to find a Toji. Some large traditional Maisons still have this system today, but more and more Kura have a young and motivated team on site. For my part, I wanted to be Toji and thanks or because of this complex situation of lack of manpower, it was relatively easy for me. The Toji who took care of Imada Shuzo was a charming man, he worked hard and excelled in his art. He mixed the good nature of a farmer with the techniques of a saké producer: he welcomed and trained me.