High-octane hooch
Published:  18 May, 2007

Sake, the Japanese rice wine (yes, we know it's technically more accurate to call it a beer) was one of the big hits at the International Wine Challenge, with 228 entries, compared with two last year.

But while sake producers are eyeing up sales opportunities in new export markets, at home their product is being tested as an alternative to petrol.

A three-year experiment in the mountain resort of Shinanomachi is fuelling vehicles with cheap rice-origin ethanol, with the help of local farmers.

It must take ages filling up one of those Hyundai 4x4s with so many 70cl bottles.




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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