The E&J Gallo Winery Waitstaff Survival Guide to Wine

Written By: Mike Raven

E&J Gallo’s new training program is fun, informative and humorous and will be sure to keep the attention of the average waiter in need of wine training. With its contemporary “dry-brushed” look and its whimsical illustrations, created by the graphic design firm of Rabinovici & Associates, it is as attractive as it is informational. With today’s visually orientated generations this is very important. It will keep the attention of today’s fidgety, text message crazy, got to be doing something every second waiter. It is not the Gallo Wine Academy and doesn’t try to be.


no-11A main booklet that is 36 pages long. With its easy reading style it is entertaining as well as informative. It starts by teaching you about the different types of customers and how to deal with them. From the “Yadda Yadda’s” that won’t stop talking and you can’t get their attention to the “Dead Airs” that say very little and express less. From there it goes into pairing tips, bubbly opening and etiquette, the top 5 ways to kill your wine related tip and the top 5 wine service mishaps. As I turned the page half way thru the book I came to a page with the title “15 minutes before your shift starts? Can’t deal with your hair at the moment, let alone wine? No problem: follow these four steps”. I cracked up, remember, I said it was humorous. The rest of the book goes into a simple explanation of wine and its varietals with light and airy descriptions.

no-21An 8 panel folded “Crib Notes,” Training Cards that give you a quick summation of the main service points in the same format as the main booklet. These are great for refreshing points of the course.


no-31The DVD with its improvisational actors is entertaining and informative. It tackles pronunciation, food pairings, bottle opening and more. There are points when I was laughing out loud with the actors. This will keep the attention of the staff and invoke conversation and group discussion.

no-41A CD with 8 power point topics that reinforce the booklet and can be used for group projection classes. Along with the DVD it makes for a good classroom tool. It also contains a trainer’s guide and training exercises. A quiz is included as well that can be used individually or for group discussion.

This is a serious, comprehensive training program with a twist. It was created by the very talented staff at E&J Gallo with the assistance of TuttiFoodie, a boutique media group of top-notch food writers. It can be used by most restaurants but leans towards the casual dining set. Contact your Gallo representative and ask them to show it to you. I know you’ll be impressed. I was.