Unlike other sommelier competitions, Thailand Best Sommelier Competition is a four-level exam. This year, 117 contestants from top hotels and restaurants around the country entered the first round of the competition. Contestants have to answer 100 wine questions and a wine essay.
The second round consisted of an additional 100 questionnaires with an essay of 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 Dusit Thani Bangkok.
The first day of the exam consisted of an interview by four international judges, and a blind tasting and commentary on five beverages. Contestants were required to perform in English in front of an audience.
The second day of the exams consisted of wine list correction and wine and food paring,Champagneservice to two guests in three minutes, followed by 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 theThailand’s Best Sommelier Competition 2012 were announced at ‘Sommelier 2012’, the Grand Wine Tasting and Cocktail Reception, which was held on the evening of Friday, 29 June 2012.
Mr. Chalong Songkroh, Anantara Phuket Villas was announced as the winner. The two (equal) runners-up were Mr. Suvit Chanphen, The Okura Prestige Bangkok, and Mr. Yongyuth Sripintha, The Peninsula Bangkok.
Mr. Joe Sriwarin, President of the Thailand Sommelier Association, said the competition was raised to a much higher level. We were lucky to have four judges who were qualified judges all who live and work inThailand.
The three judges were Mr. Lawrence Codes, wine and food specialist from Canada, Mr. Michel Conrad, wine & spirit specialist from Switzerland and Echanson of Chaine des Rotisseurs Thailand, Mr. Giulio Saverino, a professional sommelier from Italy and wine educator – the three foreign judges live and work in Thailand and Mr. Alan Kam, a Conseiller Gastronomique of Chaine des Rotisseurs Thailand, a master of perfect paring of wine and food.
Moreover, many wine producers and importers are beginning to understand that they can no longer sell wines like any other liquor brands inThailand– the Thai wine consumer is growing too sophisticated for that.
It also good news that more hotels and fine-dining restaurants are employing wine-service specialists than ever before. Most of the city’s top hotels, as well as major resorts around the country, are now giving regular wine training to staff and appointing professional sommeliers to their main outlets.
This fit to our aim – we want to promote Sommelier profession, and of course theThailandwine trade in general.
The Thailand’s Best Sommelier Competition 2012 was sponsored by SOPEXA, Tesco Lotus, Jacob’s Creek, Riedel Glass, Champagne Deutz, Wine Today Magazine and Dusit Thani Hotel Bangkok.
The evening reception and Grand Wine Tasting was supported by the South African embassies as well as 10 wine importing companies, two local and three overseas boutique wine producers.