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2013 Thailand’s Best Sommelier Competition a Huge Success!

June 20, 2013 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

THE sixth edition of the prestigious annual ‘Thailand’s Best Sommelier Competition’ was held at the Ballroom, Conrad Bangkok on 10-11 June, 2013.

Unlike other sommelier competitions, the Thailand’s Best Sommelier Competition is a four-level exam. This year, 97 contestants from top hotels and restaurants around the country entered the first round of the competition. Contestants had to answer 100 wine questions and a wine essay.

The second round consisted of an additional 100 questions with wine list correction, and wine and food pairing.

In the third round, all contestants had to go through a telephone interview by an international judge testing both their international wine knowledge and their command of English.

After the three rounds, the top 15 scorers were selected to enter the final round for a two-day exam held at the Ballroom, Conrad Bangkok.

The first day of the exam consisted of a written exam of 60 wine questions (no multiple choice), identify wine celebrities, chateaux and wineries, blind tasting and comment on four beverages, wine list correction and wine and food pairing. Contestants were required to perform in English in front of an audience.

The second day of the exams consisted of Champagne service to two guests in three minutes, red wine service to six guests in six minutes. The exams were set up in a restaurant environment, and again contestants had to perform in English in front of an audience.

The winner and the two runners-up of the Thailand’s Best Sommelier Competition 2013 were announced at ‘Sommelier 2013’, the Grand Wine Tasting and Cocktail Reception, which was held on the evening of Tuesday 11, June 2013.

Mr. Pathompong Wangmanao, sommelier of RR&B Restaurant, the Landmark Bangkok Hotel was announced as the winner.

The two (equal) runners-up were Mr. Supapong Mekprasart, Head Sommelier, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, and Mr. Santi Thongrit, Wine Guru, Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa.

Mr. Joe Sriwarin, President of the Thailand Sommelier Association, said “the competition was once again raised to a much higher level. We would like to thank all hotels and restaurants that allowed their employees to take part in Thailand’s Best Sommelier Competition 2013. We also would like to thank all boutique wine producers, wine import companies, South African Embassy, Lucaris Crystal Glass and San Pellegrino, EuroCave and fifteen wine importers companies, without their support we wouldn’t be able to host this important event.

“We were also lucky to have three foreign judges who were qualified judges, all who live and work in Thailand”.

The three judges were;

Mr. Giulio Saverino, a professional sommelier from Italy and wine educator, is currently working as Food & Beverage Director for Bed Supperclub, he has lived and worked in Thailand for the last 13 years.

Mr. Gautier Salinier, is currently working for Plaimont Producteurs, a leading winery from South West France which operates in Asia. He holds Wine and Spirit Education Trust Awards in wines and spirits. He has been part of the organization committee for the 2011 and 2012 South East Asia Best Sommelier Competition in Indonesia and Malaysia. He has lived and worked in Thailand for the past 13 years.

Mr. David Swartzentruber, his byline is familiar to many as he was senior web writer for the Bangkok Post and has contributed wine articles to most of the major publications in Bangkok. He has worked in many sectors of the wine industry, including production, public relations for major California wineries and sales for wine distributors in Maine and Hawaii, and has lived in Bangkok for more than 10 years.

Said Joe Sriwarin, “Moreover, wine producers and importers are now realizing that they can no longer sell wines like any other liquor brands in Thailand – the Thai wine consumer is growing too sophisticated for that. We also see more hotels and fine-dining restaurants are employing wine-service specialists than ever before.

This matches our aim – which is we want to promote the Sommelier profession, and of course the Thailand wine trade in general”.

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