Since 2008, the national competition “Thailand’s Best Sommelier” has been hosted by Wine Today magazine.
All previous winners and runners up are eligible to take part in international competitions such as South East Asia’s Best Sommelier (held every year), the Best Sommelier of Asia Oceania and the World’s Best Sommelier (both events held every three years).
This year, the World’s Best Sommelier Competition will be held from 26-30 March at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The winner of 2012 Thailand’s Best Sommelier, Mr. Chalong Songkroh (Wine Guru of Anantara Phuket Villas) was chosen to represent Thailand in Japan.
Joe Sriwarin, president of the Thailand Sommelier Association and organizer of Thailand’s Best Sommelier Competition, said: “It’s great news that Thailand has been invited to take part in the 14th ASI Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World in Tokyo. This is the first time that a Thai sommelier will participate at the world’s most prestigious wine competition.”
Although Thailand has hosted the national competition since 2008, it has never taken part at the highest level of competition. When asked what chance a Thai candidate has to win the world title. Joe Sriwarin, said, “it’s not every month or year that we are invited to enter and compete in the toughest competition. This is like a sommelier Olympics and we are honored to be part of it.”
Japan ranks number one in sommelier education and knowledge in Asia and its candidate won the world title in 1990, but as he was educated in France and fluent in French, so the result was perhaps no real surprise.
We would like our candidate to learn from the experts, he’ll join the best sommeliers in the world. Some already hold Master Sommelier (MS) titles.
We will focus on the first hurdle (quarterfinal), we know it will be the toughest written exam and if he passes, it will be his lifetime career achievement.
We hope he will do well and bring back a once-in-a-lifetime experience to share with his other sommelier colleagues and to make his organization proud.
Above all, by participating at world level, we hope it will help raise awareness amongst some government decision makers and those extreme anti-alcohol groups to learn how to respect and to give importance to those in the wine business. In Japan, the sommelier profession is recognized by the Emperor”.The World’s Best Sommeliers’ trip to Japan is once again sponsored by Minor International Plc, the country's largest hotel and restaurant group, Anantara Phuket Villars and Wine Dee Dee Company Limited.