For the Love of Wine


April 12, 2017 | BY Philippine Tatler

The Philippine Sommelier Association (PSA) held last March the country’s first sommelier competition, showcasing wine mastery and premium service.

Makati Shangri-La Manila’s Patrick Alan Tabhan clinched the title and now bound to Jakarta, Indonesia for the 6th Southeast Asia + Taiwan’s Best Sommelier Competition happening on April 15.

Aiming to elevate the quality of Filipino sommeliers to world standards as well as develop and uplift the profession through education, practice, and exposure, PSA in cooperation with Vintec and Enderun Colleges held the inaugural Philippine Sommelier Competition. 

The panel included three international judges—Tommy Lam from Singapore, Joe Sriwarin from Thailand, and John Hung from Taiwan. Moreover, Manila’s wine and dining scene connoisseurs Jay Labrador, Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, and Cyrene dela Rosa joined the panel as guest judges. 

The event gathered 22 competitors in the Professional Category and two in the Junior Category. After the morning preliminaries consisting of written and practical exams, the top three were selected. The finalists then competed on stage in front of their fellow participants and an audience of industry peers, food and beverage personalities, wine enthusiasts, and the press.

The finalists were tested not just on their wine and beverage knowledge but also on their service abilities, rapport with customers, and most importantly, their ability to think and act under extreme pressure. One of the highlights of the finals was the champagne-pouring segment where the finalists open and pour a magnum bottle of Pol Roger Champagne into 16 glasses as evenly as possible without going back to the previous glass they already poured. 

“Apart from his knowledge, Mr. Tabhan was charming and confident,” PSA President, Pierre Addison said. “He always had a smile and he carried himself with grace even under extreme pressure.”

Taking second place is Jose Carlos Tongco of Okada Manila, and third place is Matthew Rae De Guzman of Raffles and Fairmont Makati Hotel. Meanwhile in the Junior Category, Yvette Belleza won opposite Gemelle Mae Lim. Both competitors are from Enderun Colleges.

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