Once again talented sommeliers from around the kingdom arrived at the hotel to showcase their skills in front of a panel of judges in the hope of being declared Thailand’s Best Sommelier.
Winner, runners-up and friends at this year’s Best Sommelier Competition.
Winning the competition this year was Chaiyaporn Phantuvadeethon, a sommelier at D’Sens Restaurant, Dusit Thani Bangkok.
A competition finalist for the past three years, Chaiyaporn made a name for himself this June when he became one of only three sommeliers in Thailand to be awarded the prestigious Certified Sommelier title from the Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide.
An excellent ambassador for Thailand’s wine industry, Chaiyaporn will this year represent his country at the second South East Asia Sommelier Competition in Jakarta, Indonesia; and next year at the Asia Oceania Sommelier Competition in Seoul, South Korea.
(L to R) Gregoire Debre, Director of Sopexa South East Asia; HE James Wise, Ambassador of Australia, and his wife, Teresa; HE Douglas Gibson, Ambassador of the Republic South Africa, and his wife, Pam (4th from left); and Joe Sriwarin, President of the Thailand Sommelier Association and Wine Professionals’ Event.
Two runners up at this year’s Thailand’s Best Sommelier Competition were sommeliers from Samui Island: Miss Charuk Chochan from Conrad Koh Samui, and Miss Krongtong Namtiwong from Anantara Koh Samui. Like Chiayaporn, both have been competition finalists for the past three years.
The winners were announced on July 1 at “Sommelier 2011,” a glitzy evening wine tasting event held at the Dusit Thani Bangkok’s Napalai Ballroom and presided over by HE Douglas Gibson, Ambassador of the Republic South Africa, and his wife, Pam; HE James Wise, Ambassador of Australia, and his wife, Teresa; Gregoire Debre, Director of Sopexa South East Asia; and Joe Sriwarin, President of the Thailand Sommelier Association and Wine Professionals’ Event.
Despite heavy rains and even heavier traffic, over 600 guests made their way to the event to sample some fabulous wines, indulge in gourmet cocktails, and enjoy some great live music performed by Dan Fantastic Band and famous Thai singer Dr Vinai Panthurak, who founded the “Impossible Band Group” in the ’70s.
Sponsors of the event included SOPEXA, Thai Airways, Riedel, Champagne Deutz, and the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa. Fifteen leading wine importer companies in Thailand also showcased their wines at the event.
Speaking about Thailand’s Best Sommelier 2011, Joe Sriwarin, President of the Thailand Sommelier Association said, “The aim of the competition has always been to help develop Thailand’s fledgling wine industry, and we’re happy to report that it’s doing just that. Most of sommeliers from the 95 entrants who returned to compete this year demonstrated vastly improved wine knowledge and skills, and I’m sure our winners are going to go on to become great wine ambassadors.”