Melbourne-based sake educator Simone Maynard had been planning to host a series of tasting events with four sake producers from Japan when the COVID-19 pandemic forced Australia to close its borders in late March.

The regular sake workshops that she had scheduled to hold at restaurants around the city were canceled as Melbourne, located in the hard-hit southern state of Victoria, entered a strict lockdown that continued for 111 days and was only lifted on Oct. 28.

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