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Italian Wine Server Training

Looking for the best resources for training 'green' servers from the bottom up about Italian  wine. Any suggestions?


Michael Fellini
Assistant Beverage Manager
Eataly Boston | 800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199
  • Michael, there are two pieces here for staff training:
  • Wine folly is approachable and has colorful maps. The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil has helped quite a few of my green staff. I had a super straightforward blind tasting class with very different expressions of the different regions for beginners(i.e. Hefty Barolo with a light Chianti) and it helped to push people past the idea of "this wine smells and tastes red so why the hell are there 200 of them". I feel like a lot of newbies think that way but there's no way they'll admit it in an interview/class.
    Good luck!
  • Nasa provides an in-depth training/certification on Italian wines. Here is the link:
  • Michael Fagan does nice overviews of the major regions. This is a good starting point for a visual component.



  • Michael:

    I work in one the best Italian restaurants in my area- I am proud to say!!!! We have "Italy Boot Camp" for our staff that are newbies to the wine world. It's a three hour class. I may do it as often as three times a year, depending on hiring patterns. Never dumb it down!! I talk all about varietals, soils, climatic conditions, etc. Most of my veteran servers return for it year after year as well as the new staff that are required to attend. (I do change it from year to year... LOL.) I also do staff training every week on Saturdays on all kinds of topics. In fact when I first started the training, we did France- everyone was like, "Really????" (Everything begins with France...) They are not required to attend (and therefore do not get paid to be there), but of 23 servers, I regularly have 14-16 in attendance. I also have managers, server assistants, food runners and kitchen staff attend, as well. All of the staff seems to be quite eager to learn everything they can about wine. I know I am really fortunate to have such a wine-motivated staff, so thank goodness for my luck!

    I see you work for Eataly in Boston- you should have some really motivated new hires who are dying to learn about Italian wine! They are probably ecstatic to know what you can tell them!! You probably need to do staff training more often than I do for the basics. I always believe that if you believe your restaurant is filled with wine geeks, it will be! You set the culture as the somm!! Rock it out!!! I'm sure you do!!

    Excited for you!!! Education of your staff/guests/everyone you know is what makes this all for me the most fulfilling job in the world!!! Best of luck!!!!!! You have a spectacular job, a spectacular staff and a spectacular restaurant!!!!!!
  • I am working as a server at a trattoria with an excellent wine program. Reading Bastianich's Vino Italiano has been great. His connection of wine with regional food is an excellent mnemonic device.

  • I highly recommend the Italian Wine Central website and course book (available on Italian Wine Central or Amazon, and maybe even here at Guildsomm). It is written in a way that is very easy to understand, yet comprehensive and up to date. The Italian Wine Professional course is awesome too (I've been teaching it for years), though not really for beginners.

    Good luck!
  • Hi Michael- to follow-up on Kathy Morgan's reply the Italian Wine Central has just launched their new intro course the Level 1 Discovering Italian Wines which is available online. Here is a link to more info