I have contributed to BBC Radio 4 and TV programmes about wine.
“Bryn Terfel is clearly one of life’s contented souls. Hearing him murmuring happily on Bryn Terfel Masters Wine (Radio 4, Saturday), as he listened to experts talking (“carry on, I love it”), was like feeling warm sun on your skin….And when a wine guru [Sarah Ahmed] swooned over some vinho verde, noting its “salty sea tang” and “touch of pear skin”, Terfel accompanied her with a rousing burst of The Green, Green Grass of Home.” Elisabeth Mahoney, The Guardian
You were great talent – funny smart and direct – it is terrible when people wander around topics in interviews or start thoughts and never finish them. You were an interviewers dream! I was ticking off in my head ‘grab’ ‘grab’ ‘grab’ oh fabulous this is going to be easy – she starts something and then finishes it….” Pip Courtney, Landline Presenter, ABC Television, Australia on “Watching the detectives.”
I contribute to consumer and trade wine books and magazines, judge at prestigious wine competitions and present staff training sessions for wine merchants, restaurants and bars.
“Another very important weapon in the armoury of spreading the word about The New Portugal is the written word. I think it’s great that you have specialist writers and enthusiasts such as Sarah Ahmed….” Jancis Robinson MW, Purple Pages, How to put Portugal on the wine map?
“Sarah is an informed, articulate and an enthusiastic communicator on wine and our industry; its people and places. Her easy manner and passion for the subject helps bring stories to life as she threads information through both informal and intensely tutored tastings. We have been lucky to have someone of such calibre to whom we could turn for both trade and consumer education, as we strive to inspire such a spectrum of diverse audiences.” Yvonne May, Regional Director for the UK, Ireland, and Europe, Wine Australia.
“Experts par excellence. Our Decanter World Wine Awards panels boast unrivalled credentials. Regional Chairs [Sarah Ahmed is Portugal Regional Chair], chosen for their unique expertise, lead their teams.” Decanter magazine.
“I thought you did a tremendous job at keeping everyone ‘on task’ during the speed tasting and your comments at the beginning and end of the tasting really helped to round out the event and put a real polish on the entire activity. You spoke beautifully about the specific characteristics within the Australia’s First Families of Wine producers which truly make them ‘custodians of the soil’ and we really couldn’t have asked for a better hostess/MC, so many thanks for your very good work and for the level of class and sophistication you brought to our event.” Sue Harris, Managing Director, Westbury Communications
“You were truly amazing. Your ability to engage, control and interact was sheer sleek” on The Harrow Food & Wine Experience food & wine matching presentation and lunch, Roger Jones, Michelin-starred Chef Patron, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn
“Thanks so very much for helping to make our Harrow Food and Wine Experience such a great one! The Saturday lunch was my favourite event without a shadow of a doubt. Informative and so interesting, fun, relaxed, but just went too fast! The combination of your knowledge, professionalism, fantastic presentation and sense of humour in addition to the presence of the Aussie glamour was just the perfect recipe for success.” Sue Jones, Patron, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn
Sarah is an excellent communicator on wine, combining knowledge and enthusiasm in a way that few people do. She is as at ease talking to an expert crowd as to a group of beginners, and is adept at tailoring her message accordingly.” David Gleave, Liberty Wine
“Thank you very much for hosting the tasting in our shop. The tasting went really well and quite a few of my customers have made a point of coming back in to say how much they enjoyed the tasting. It has certainly given our sales of Portuguese wines a boost. I think you might be responsible for a new cocktail craze in Chiswick as we have completely sold out of the Churchills White Port!” Andy Walton, Manager, The Good Wine Shop, Chiswick
“Thank you very much for your collaboration with Vinho Verde. Your participation in these Vinho Verde events made a significant difference.” Carla Cunha, Directora de Marketing, Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes
“The process of getting from 21,000 to one winner is not easy, but it went something like this: there were two rounds of blind tastings, with progressively tricky questions about the wines. Just 64 people were left standing for the Semi Final Boot Camps, with four groups of 16, each with their own mentor who would later be a judge at the Final. Newcomer Sarah Ahmed was a fantastic, dynamic mentor, getting into her stride as ‘Tiger Mum’. Oddbins, Oddbins The Palate 2014
“Thank you so much for doing the training. I have had great feedback!!! They should now be experts!” Dawn Davies, Wine Buyer Selfridges
“Sarah’s enthusiasm about the wines and vineyards is very infectious and her extensive travel really helps people to relate to what they are tasting. Very clear and concise, she is skilled at using her obvious in-depth knowledge to explain key points and doesn’t over-complicate the message.” Clare Walsh, Sales and Marketing Co-ordinator, Great Western Wine
“I am Portuguese and have a business selling Portuguese wines to hotels and restaurants. I had the opportunity to listen to you at London International Wine Fair this year. I was very impressed with your passion and knowledge about Portugal and Portuguese wines.” Antonio Cunha, Ince Wines
“Sarah is a skilled communicator with the ability to process and make accessible the often frightening lexicon of wine. From the wine novice to seasoned trade professionals – Sarah researches, explores and then opens up the wonderful world of wine with skill, passion and dedication. Her commitment to understanding the winemaking process in its entirety is a testament to her broader commitment to opening wine up to a wider range of audiences – whilst keeping the integrity and passion of the wine industry intact. Sarah is erudite, hugely efficient and organised – the consummate professional and a pleasure to deal with.” Valerie Lewis, Negociants UK
Private Client feedback
Private clients include government entities, law firms, accountants, wine societies, charities, schools, publishers, and human resources consultants.
“We had a potentially difficult audience to please as there were many French guests who of course all considered themselves natural wine experts. This event was a blind tasting comparing quality French wines with their South Australian counterparts. Sarah very deftly set the scene and then managed all the teams offering tantalising hints and demonstrating not only a deep knowledge of her subject but a talent for communicating what can be quite a difficult concept using everyday vocabulary, something that not all wine masters can manage. A wonderful evening thoroughly enjoyed by all, particularly the French who were charmed into accepting that not all good wine comes from France!”John Rees, Business Development Director, Investment Government of South Australia Office of the Agent General
“Sarah’s clever and funny presentation on surviving sommeliers and matching food and wine made for a perfect client entertainment evening. We all learned a lot while getting to know each other and, miraculously, despite trying ten delicious old and new world wines, clearly ate the perfect amount of matching food with each to stay alert ourselves and to awaken next morning without even the suspicion of a hangover. I would have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone thinking of a different event to bring lawyers and clients together.” Alison Wetherfield, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery Solicitors
“The breadth of Sarah’s knowledge, combined with a distinctly unstuffy approach to wine, make her an ideal speaker at Waitrose Food Illustrated reader events. She pitches her talks perfectly so that they can be enjoyed by a mixed audience of inquisitive amateurs and those with a more advanced understanding of wine tasting. Best of all, she brings a personal note with anecdotes about producers and regions that really brings her subjects to life.” Amber Dalton, Restaurant Editor, Waitrose Food Illustrated
“Thank you so much for hosting the wine tasting part of our fundraising event on Wednesday and all you help with Wines of France. As always you went down a storm. Your great mix of expertise & humour is always just right and you managed to keep everyone in check, too! You also made a very big impact on our Patron Kristian Digby and our other celebrity Dan Gillespie Sells – who both really got into the spirit of the tasting and learnt lots from you!” Tim Sigsworth, Chief Executive, The Albert Kennedy Trust
“Sarah has organised several tasting evenings for us with our clients. Her approach has always been professional and well-organised and she successfully manages to be both informative and fun. Her love of wine is infectious.” Simmons & Simmons Solicitors
“The competitive element (and the wine!) encouraged lively discussions between team members and the evening was a great success overall. Sarah’s great skill is in making wine appreciation fun and accessible. We have no hesitation in recommending The Wine Detective to others and we look forward to working together with Sarah again in the future.” Stephenson Harwood Solicitors
“A visit from Sarah is always one of the highlights of our calendar. She carries her vast knowledge lightly and her talks are always instructive and entertaining. Members are encouraged to offer their opinions and are fully engaged in the evening.” Colin Wagstaff, Chairman, Dulwich Wine Society
“Thank you for presenting such a good tasting; loads of background information, interesting stories and personal touches and really honest reviews of a good range of wines showing the diversity and character of Portuguese wines. I have many positive comments about the tasting afterwards especially the depth of information and impartiality of your presentation.” David Blackett, Chairman, Imperial College Wine Group
“It was a great evening and many members told me afterwards how much they appreciated hearing what you had to say and to learn from your vast knowledge of Portuguese wines. I think the Portugal wine industry is very lucky to have you as an ambassador for their wines in the UK.” Keith Cooper, Whitewater Valley Wine Society
“I’ve been to other tastings and enjoyed Sarah’s the most – good to be given proper advice on what to look for in a wine.” Elsevier Science
“All the members came up to me at some point and said how much they had enjoyed it and how informative it was. So thank you for a brilliant evening!” Liz Allen, Rutland Wine Society
“Everyone who attended has spoken very highly of the tasting and enjoyed it very much.” Andrew Johnson, Partner, Slaughter & May
“Your tasting last week was a great success and Jackie, our chairman, has subsequently re-iterated to me, that she regarded your presentation as one of the best we had received at the club.” Ken Brookes, East Grinstead Wine Society