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7th Annual Pumpkin…

Oct 5 - 31, 2015
The Lutcher/Gramercy Lions Club presents its 7th Annual Pumpkin Patch at the… more

New Orleans' First Wine, Spirits and Beer Guild Launches


From: Enological Guild of New Orleans (EGNOLA)

Re: Launch of the Guild

Date: 9/9/2013

New Orleans, LA - The Enological Guild of New Orleans (EGNOLA) is ramping up. It is the first organization of its kind in the greater New Orleans area seeking to build a community of beverage industry professionals as well as enthusiasts of all-things-drink. EGNOLA will be offering courses, including service industry certifications, in addition to hosting events and offering education programs to consumers. They also provide consulting services for beverage program development and management.

"The idea is to put things in a local context," EGNOLA Co-Founder, Bryan Dias said. "Many of the educational systems and organizations that are out there come from a very different space or reality. We want to make things fun and accessible while also providing sound, useful applied knowledge that is appropriate to the landscape here."

Dias, who originally hails from Northern California and has worked in various facets of the wine industry for years, connected with Aaron Angelo, a New Orleans native who is a certified sommelier and restaurant industry veteran, about a year ago. "Aaron and I were chatting about wine education and the local scene and realized that although there are a lot of organizations and systems that exist, very little spoke to this area with its unique culture, cuisine and vibe," Dias said.

"We wanted to put together a group that brought like-minded people together to share in their appreciation of wine, spirits, and beer but also how those things can and should fit into the scene here," he continued. "For example, we want to educate service industry members on how to sell a bottle of wine in New Orleans, not in a generic sense, but in a way that has a sensibility specific to here."

Angelo has worked in various capacities in the service industry for years, including restaurant management in both Seattle and here in New Orleans. "Like a lot of other folks from the area, I had to move away for a while following Katrina. But I vowed to hone my skills and return to the city with something to offer, something to share in order to contribute to the rebuilding," Angelo said.

"Having spent time in Seattle, so close to the Northwest wine regions, I collaborated with many like-minded beverage professionals who were really into advancing their knowledge of wine, spirits and beer," he continued. "Coming back, I felt a void in that respect, and that's where the idea for EGNOLA came to fruition."

The group will be offering certification and other professional courses to those in the trade. One example is a three course wine service and knowledge seminar that requires a demonstration of understanding for successful completion. Much of the course work will not only teach the important broader aspects of wine faculty, but also directly focus on local considerations such as food pairing and seasonal considerations that are distinct to the New Orleans area. Specialized electives will be made available that will emphasize, for example, a particular region or varietal. Additionally, they are developing a curriculum for spirits professionals where much of the emphasis will be on creating and understanding classic New Orleans cocktails and how a bar business can effectively deliver such a program.

EGNOLA, in addition to industry education, will also soon put on seminars and showcase events for enthusiasts. "We want to provide non-industry folks the chance to learn about alcoholic beverages, food pairing, and other things that will enhance their culinary and entertaining experiences along with providing them some practical knowledge that they can use when they are out at a restaurant or picking up something at the local bottle shop," Dias said.

Membership opportunities, both for businesses as well as individuals, are offered providing preferential enrollment in courses, discounts on guild education programs and services, and exclusive offers from affiliated businesses. Consulting services for local businesses are also available where EGNOLA can assist with beverage program management designed to maximize the value of this important cost center. This includes pricing, inventory, cocktail and bar programs, salesmanship, and marketing. Member businesses receive discounts on services and the guild will even work on in-kind exchanges to offset membership costs.

"One of our best programs will be the Beverage Manager Certification, which will focus on providing students with real world applications of what it means to be a successful beverage manager," said Angelo.

"Because in the end, having a nice shiny pin from the guys who flew in last year for a two-day seminar sure looks great, but we go further to teach our students the tools to be highly effective," he continued. "Our plan is to stay with our students and affiliated businesses to keep things current and fresh - you won't get that with those out of town organizations who care more about cashing that fat check for tuition than seeing New Orleans businesses truly grow."

"It is a dream come true to be able to offer a locally owned service to this city, one to help move our city's beverage professionals to the next level of the world class service we have already offered," said Angelo. "We understand who we are and where we are going as a hospitality destination. EGNOLA is here to walk hand-in-hand with our city's beverage professionals and enthusiasts as we take that next big leap forward."

More info:




LinkedIn Group (The Big Easy Wine, Spirits and Beer Network by the Enological Guild of New Orleans):