The Trinacria is a symbol of Sicily, but it also looks like a tasting room attendant on a busy day.
Every time I go on a little wine tasting jaunt I notice details. And not just in the wine. I notice when a tasting room attendant makes handling a busy room look as effortless as ballet. I also notice when tasting room attendants drop the ball, fumble and foul like a doomed football game.
Here are some random bits of advice from my forthcoming book, Managing Your Tasting Room.
Smile and greet everyone as they walk in the door. Make eye contact. Always have glasses and tasting lists ready.
If it becomes difficult to keep track of tasters, orders, and requests--just work clockwise. Always start with the person on your left and move to the right. You'll still have to multi-task, but if people have wine in their glass, and they can see that you are moving from guest to guest in an orderly fashion, they're more inclined to be patient. You can also do the "fade out/fade in". Continue answering questions from one couple as you edge gently to the right to pour for the next couple and smile at them.
If someone is really pinning you down with questions, say something like, "That's a really good question. Let me just pour some wine for our other guests and I'll be right back." Finish your circle, and you'll be back to him in no time.