The Rise of Malaysia’s Wine Industry: A Decade of Growth and Recognition

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Led strongly by a burgeoning wine scene in Greater Kuala Lumpur over the last several years, the time for homegrown sommeliers has truly arrived in Malaysia.

The Malaysia Best Sommelier Championship 2024 (MBSC 2024), held on June 24-25 at The Gardens – A St Giles Signature Hotel & Residences in Kuala Lumpur, showcased the impressive growth and maturation of Malaysia’s wine industry over the past decade. This year’s championship not only highlighted the increasing appreciation for wine among Malaysians but also underscored Kuala Lumpur’s emergence as a growing player in the region’s wine scene.

To learn more about the fine organisation behind the event, The Sommelier Association of Malaysia (SOMLAY), visit their site HERE.

The 17 candidates with their MBSC certificates


The MBSC 2024 saw a record 17 candidates, including six females and 11 males, compete for the national title. This significant participation reflects the burgeoning interest in the wine industry and the increasing number of skilled sommeliers in the country. The championship serves as a platform for the best talents to showcase their expertise and compete on an international stage. The winner of this year’s competition will represent Malaysia at the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) Best Sommelier of Asia Pacific 2025, to be held in Kuala Lumpur for the first time, and later at the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2026.

MBSC 2024 Organising Committee who are also the Committee members of SOMLAY:

  • Cherry Chan
  • Natasha Poong
  • Ronald Binati – President of SOMLAY
  • Hans Ong
  • KC Tay
  • Danny Leong – Technical Director of MBSC 2024
The MBSC Organising Committee and Judges


The judging panel comprised distinguished experts from the global wine industry:

  • Chief Judge Pierre-Marie Pattieu – Master Sommelier and Ambassador of Jackson’s Family Wine.
  • Hervé Pennequin – Assistant Vice President of Beverage at the Galaxy Entertainment Group in Macau.
  • Wong Yin How – F&B entrepreneur and Master of Wine program student.
  • Dr. Stephen J. Hall – Long-time member of SOMLAY and the International Food and Wine Society (IFWS).
MBSC 2024 Judges and Danny Leong, Technical Director (centre)

The competition spanned two days, with a series of rigorous tests, including theory exams, blind tastings, and practical examinations. A highlight was the Cepas de Chile Trophy, sponsored by ProChile and the Embassy of Chile, which tested candidates on their knowledge of Chilean wines and viticulture.

Cepas de Chile trophy


The grand finals on June 25 were a spectacular affair, with the final three candidates – Yong Yi Ying, Shirley Tan, and Tan Chuan Ann – undergoing a series of challenging tasks. These included preparing a dry martini without vermouth, decanting a bottle of Bordeaux red wine, blind tasting various alcoholic beverages, and recommending wine pairings for Peranakan cuisine. Crisp service counts for a sommelier, too, so the final task involved perfectly pouring a magnum of Champagne Palmer & Co into 15 glasses without any drips or overflows.


  • Champion: Yong Yi Ying, who will represent Malaysia in the upcoming ASI competitions
  • 1st Runner-up: Shirley Tan
  • 2nd Runner-up: Tan Chuan Ann
Champion Yong Yi Ying
1st Runner-Up Shirley Tan
2nd Runner-Up Tan Chuan Ann

The awards dinner, attended by notable figures such as H.E. Jaime Muñoz Sandoval, Ambassador of Chile, and H.E. Valeria Csukasi, Ambassador of Uruguay, celebrated the achievements of the candidates and sponsors. Various awards were given, including the Cepas de Chile Trophy, Best in Service, Best in Theory, and Best in Blind Tasting.

Cepas de Chile award presentation
Best in Service award presentation
Best in Theory award presentation
Best in Blind Tasting award presentation


Over time, and notably the past decade, the wine industry in Malaysia, particularly in Greater Kuala Lumpur, has seen remarkable steady growth, buoyed by an increasing appreciation for international and fine dining and the wines that often accompany such meals. This development is evident in the increasing number of wine professionals and enthusiasts in the country. Events like MBSC 2024 highlight the depth of knowledge and passion among local sommeliers and the supportive infrastructure that has been built to nurture this talent.

The rise of the wine industry is further reflected in the public’s growing appreciation for wine. Malaysia’s multicultural environment, with its diverse culinary scene, has provided a fertile ground for wine pairing and education. The positive trends in the industry are a testament to the hard work of professionals and enthusiasts who have tirelessly promoted wine culture in the region.

The MBSC Awards Dinner featured a number of notable food and wine pairings


While Malaysia may never be counted among the top echelons of the global wine industry, the progress made over the last decade is promising. The continued support from local and international stakeholders, combined with the dedication of Malaysian sommeliers, suggests a bright future for the wine industry in the country.

The MBSC 2024 not only celebrated the achievements of individual sommeliers but also shone a spotlight on the vibrant and growing wine community in Malaysia. As Kuala Lumpur prepares to host the ASI Best Sommelier of Asia Pacific 2025, the city and the country are poised to gain further recognition on the global wine stage.

Wine appreciation and professional recognition are both on the rise in Malaysia

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