Sarah Abbott MW
Became an MW 2008
Based in United Kingdom
Sarah Abbott became a Master of Wine in 2008, after ten years of working in sales, sourcing, education and marketing roles for specialist fine wine importers of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Italian wines. Her first decade in the trade was immersed in the fine classics of the wine world, and her MW dissertation was on Barolo. Sarah founded her strategic consulting and communications business, Swirl, in 2008 and followed her passion for supporting emerging wine regions and vino-diversity. She has deep experience of diverse channels and sectors of the UK wine trade, including on-trade, off-trade, wholesale, digital, and direct to consumer. Swirl has grown over the last decade into a leading provider of specialist communications programs for both the new frontiers and the underestimated origins of wine, and clients have included the generic bodies of Georgia, Japan, Turkey, Moldova, and WineGB. Swirl also works on niche projects for established names, and recent projects have included promotions of the premium 'Cru' vineyards of Soave, an education program on premium, artisan Prosecco Superiore, and a comparative masterclass of Barolo and Brunello (you never stop loving Barolo). Swirl projects typically bring together strategic consultancy with producers, trade events and education, press office, content marketing and trade liaison to facilitate distribution.
Sarah writes about wine for diverse publications including timatkin.com, the World of Fine Wine, and Swirl's company blog. She is a twice-listed finalist in the Roederer wine-writing awards and oversees the content strategy and creation for all client campaigns. She is a noted speaker and devises and delivers highly regarded masterclasses and presentations for both in-person and virtual events.
Sarah is also a wine judge at international and specialist competitions, and was one of 5 co-chairs of the International Wine Challenge for four years, until 2020. She also consults to various clients on broader marketing projects with a wine element, such as the Respected by Gaggenau initiative.
Current employer: Swirl Wine Group Ltd
Primary area(s) of work: Trade, Strategy, Communication
Industry sector(s): Business owner, Buying, Broadcasting, Consultant, Events, International trade, Journalism, Market access, Marketing, Off trade, On trade, PR, Project management, Sales, Wine judge
Wine styles: Champagne, English sparkling wines, Fine and rare wines, Fortified wines, Madeira, Natural, Orange wines, Port, Prosecco, Sherry, Sparkling wine, Still red, Still rosé, Still white, Still wines, Sweet wines, VDN, Emerging wine regions such as Turkey, Georgia, Moldova, Lebanon, Japan.
Wine region expertise: Alsace, Armenia, Australia, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Eastern Europe, England, France, Georgia, Italy, Lebanon, Moldova, Ningxia, Piedmont, Tuscany, UK, Veneto/Friuli
Market expertise: China, Eastern Europe, Europe, France, Italy, United Kingdom
Specialisms: Branding, Broadcasting, Direct to consumer, Distribution, Events, Financial and commercial structures, Food and wine pairing, History of wine, HORECA, Identifying and meeting consumer demand, Importation, Independent retail, Investment strategies, Marketing wine, Podcasts, Restaurant wines, Routes to market, Supplier/customer relationships, Training, Wine and health, Wine labels, Wine tourism, Wine judging