Sarah Abbott MW, Founder of Swirl Wine Group, was one of the British volunteers at the Wines of Ukraine stand at the London Wine Fair (June 7-9, 2022). She is Co-Chair (one of 5 head judges) of the International Wine Challenge, the world’s largest wine competition, as well as judging competitions globally, from London to Tbilisi to Melbourne.
On the initiative of LWF, in cooperation with Drinks+ Communication Media Group and Ukrsadvinprom, the Wines of Ukraine stand became possible gathering Ukrainian wine producers from different regions of Ukraine. Some of those producers were presented at the Wine Travel Awards walk-around tasting where around 80 VIP guests could taste them.
Sarah kindly agreed to share her impressions from Ukrainian wines:
“My name is Sarah Abbott, I’m here at the Wine Travel Awards tasting and I’ve been pouring a few Ukrainian wines. So, we have wines from Shabo, Stakhovsky, 46 Parallel and also Beykush. The wines, I must admit, are quite new to me but I’ve really enjoyed showing them to people. I would say that that is a characteristic of Ukrainian wines which is a certain freshness and brightness. So, they are actually very subtle, lively and the quality is really high. These aren’t wines that you choose out of sympathy, I would say that they’re really exciting. I’m rather ashamed that I haven’t tried them before, but I’m very glad that I’ve tried them now. And I really recommend that people come to the Wines of Ukraine stand at London Wine Fair and explore them because they are really delicious.”
Talking about the UK wine market as an opportunity for Ukrainian wine producers, Sarah added: “I think the first step is awareness with any new market. The UK wine market can be quite complicated to get into, but there are many different opportunities. And I think the first stage is always awareness. And in fact, there we are a mature market: we are open to many different things; we like a shop window world wine and there is no reason that Ukraine can’t be part of that. Certainly, I think the quality is there and diversity is there. And I think also obviously, Ukraine is going to need to find a new market, so there is a lot of interest here, not just for the quality of the wines but also, I think in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”
The WTA team thanks Sarah for her expertise and contribution to the work of the Wines of Ukraine stand. All the volunteers were brilliant! Even though some of them were introduced to the Ukrainian wines for the first time, the feedback was very positive.