(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
The fourth edition of the prestigious annual
ĎThailandís Best Sommelier Competitioní was held at the Dusit Thani
Bangkok, June 30 - July 1, 2011.
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 Thailandís Best Sommelier.
Winning the competition this year was Chaiyaporn
Phantuvadeethon, a sommelier at DíSens 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 Thailandís 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.
Two runners up at this yearís Thailandís 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 ďSommelier
2011,Ē a glitzy evening wine tasting event held at the Dusit Thani
Bangkokís 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 Professionalsí 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 ďImpossible Band GroupĒ in the í70s.
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 Thailandís Best Sommelier 2011, Joe
Sriwarin, President of the Thailand Sommelier Association said, ďThe aim
of the competition has always been to help develop Thailandís fledgling
wine industry, and weíre happy to report that itís doing just that. Most
of sommeliers from the 95 entrants who returned to compete this year
demonstrated vastly improved wine knowledge and skills, and Iím sure our
winners are going to go on to become great wine ambassadors.Ē
Winner, runners-up and
friends at this yearís Best Sommelier Competition.