Meet the Team: Livia

Meet the Team: Livia

In the latest installment of our meet the team series, we catch up with Livia, our Prestige Account Manager and one of the newest members of our team.

It's great to catch-up, and I hope you've settled in to the team. I wonder if you could start by sharing a bit about your journey through the wine industry?

My journey through the wine industry has been a rich tapestry of experiences and learning. I moved to the UK from Italy, a country that deepened my love for wines. My first role in the industry was at Nicolas, where I was one of the few non-French employees and initially knew very little about wines. However, through numerous tastings and pursuing WSET qualifications, I quickly became passionate about the field. Unfortunately, an accident that resulted in a broken shoulder led to a temporary career shift into the Fintech sector, where I gained extensive sales experience while traveling internationally. Despite the lucrative opportunities in Fintech, my passion for wine never waned. Seven years later, a fortunate encounter led me back to the wine industry with Enotria. I started in National Accounts and later moved to the London team, focusing on the on-trade sector and partnering with some of the city's most exciting venues.

What inspired you to join Friarwood?

Friarwood's history and consistent growth over the past decade, along with its impressive portfolio, impeccable service level and progressive sales plan, drew me in. After a few chats with Ben, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to leverage my past experiences and contribute to the company’s future success. I am excited about where we can take the company in the coming years.

How important has formal education in wine shaped your career in the wine industry?

It has broadened my theoretical and practical knowledge of wines, significantly enhancing my wine vocabulary and palate. I've completed a WSET Level 3 in Wine, which not only refined my blind tasting skills, but allowed me to connect with other professionals in the industry. It helped in my career development and continues to be an asset.

You have an affinity with large groups and hotel chains. Can you outline your strategy for engaging these prestigious accounts and what makes Friarwood's offerings particularly appealing to these clients?

Whatever I do, I approach it in a personalized manner because people and businesses have different needs, dynamics, products, and workflows. I combine what clients ask for with my diverse and multicultural experience, ensuring open communication to achieve the desired results. I hold a BA degree in Hotel Business and worked for six years in Brazil with some of the most prestigious hotel chains, giving me an in-depth understanding of the industry.

For example, I developed a project called The Wine Academy with one of my clients. This professional yet fun wine training program rewarded employees and offered them career advancement opportunities, helping my client retain their best staff. One year into the program, the client proudly shared that all employees working still in the hotel chain, had been part of The Wine Academy, highlighting its success.

Friarwood’s offerings are particularly appealing to prestigious clients because of our commitment to quality and bespoke service. We understand that each client is unique, and we strive to offer tailored solutions that resonate with their specific goals and challenges. Our diverse range of wines, combined with our dedication to building strong, lasting relationships, makes us a preferred partner for large groups and hotel chains.

What's one key thing you always look to do when working with clients?

I always look to work closely with our wine producers to provide customers with an enriching experience. This approach not only enhances customer engagement but also deepens their appreciation of our wines' unique stories and qualities.

Do you see any trends in the wine market, and how is Friarwood positioned to take advantage of these trends?

While I hesitate to emphasize trends, as wine preferences are highly personal, there are a few notable movements in the fine wine market. Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainability, uncomplicated wines, low and no alcohol options, white Italian wines, leaner and chillable reds. Friarwood is well-positioned to meet these preferences with its expanding portfolio and commitment to quality.

You are also passionate about theatre and direct theatre productions. How do you balance this creative passion with your professional life in the wine industry?

This is less about balance and more about integration. Both art and wine have a deep connection, and my work in theatre as a director, writer, and actor enriches my ability to connect with people, form relationships, and lead with authenticity. The skills I develop in theatre, such as storytelling and understanding diverse perspectives, enhance my professional capabilities.

What is something you wish the wine industry would change or improve on and why?

One area I wish the wine industry would improve is diversity. When I started, I rarely encountered other Brazilians, particularly females, in the trade. I often faced preconceived notions about my knowledge of wines due to my background. However, it’s encouraging to see more compatriots succeeding in the industry today. Additionally, I would love to see consumers diversify their choices beyond the well-known names, exploring wines from other European countries like Portugal or Hungary. This broadening of horizons would enrich their wine experiences and support a more inclusive wine industry.