On the Road: Fenella Newland

ArticlesOn the Road

Fenella joined Liberty five years ago and is sales representative for south east England, covering Kent, Sussex and Brighton


My day-to-day activities encompass anything from helping owners and buyers to select new listings, holding technical tastings with them, and training their junior members of staff, through to arranging neck tags and shelf-talkers. Recently, I spent a couple of hours working with a customer, fitting Astroturf in a shop window for a tennis-themed display and then hanging bunting for a Portuguese promotion.

All sorts of bizarre things can happen. I recall once receiving a message from a courier van saying that they could not make a delivery to a customer in Mayfield village as the road was closed for a market and festival. I happened to be in the area so borrowed a sack barrow from the customer, went down the hill to meet the courier, and then pushed the barrow full of wine through the village to complete the delivery.

I’ve been doing this job for long enough now that I’m quite good friends with some of my customers. I know that whenever I go and host a wine dinner, for example, I’ll grab an apron, find the kitchen, and crack on with the preparations. I love that side of what I do – just mucking in and really being able to help my customers.

I was a customer of Liberty Wines prior to coming to work for them, having spent five years as a restaurant manager and sommelier. My Liberty rep was always so respectful of my time, very flexible and prepared to work around what my business needed. She gave a fantastic impression of the company, and I was delighted to be able to join them when I moved into working in wine full-time. The portfolio has always been great fun to work with and I’m proud to be part of such a professional team.


My customers have been impacted differently by the pandemic so I’m adapting how I maintain contact with them according to their individual needs and expectations


My customers have been impacted differently by the pandemic so I’m adapting how I maintain contact with them according to their individual needs and expectations. Some larger shops and sites with dedicated office space for meetings are delighted to welcome me back face-to-face, whereas smaller shops may be struggling to find time and physical space. I have one customer whose two-person team cannot risk attending any of the upcoming trade tastings, so I’m arranging a mini portfolio tasting for them at their shop. It’s all about planning ahead, keeping the lines of communication open, and offering alternative options where my physical presence is not practical.

It has been a joy to get back to doing live tastings though after a year of Zoom meetings. We have so many new and exciting additions to our portfolio, and it has been great fun introducing these to my customers, working together on refreshing their ranges for the summer and beyond. I’m completely obsessed with sherry and am off out shortly to do a sherry, vermouth and quina tasting with a customer in Hove. I love sharing my passion for fortified wines – it’s such a diverse category yet so often overlooked.

I own an Alfa Romeo sports car and love a road trip, so have always enjoyed the driving element of my job. However, I’m mindful that Liberty Wines has been carbon neutral for the last seven years, so will be making as much use of my well-connected local train station as possible from this autumn, to help reduce my own carbon footprint.


Feature sponsored by Liberty Wines.
For more information, visit libertywines.co.uk
Call 020 7720 5350

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