When you visit Walla Walla, it is so easy to take one look at the list of wineries and go a little crazy trying to fit as many as possible into your trip. Sometimes I’ll ask a group how many wineries they’re planning on visiting that day, and they’ll say something insane, like 14 (and then I follow up with, “So, you hired a driver, right?”). I think 14 might be doable, if you only tried one or two wines at each place and made heavy use of the dump bucket, but I’d feel a little sad for you, because you’d miss out on the best parts of wine tasting. Hands down, my favorite tastings have been when I took the time to linger on the patio and savor each taste or have a long conversation with my server. A quick in-and-out tasting is like a wine that falls flat on the finish.
My best advice is to pick four wineries each day. Have a substantial breakfast, go to two wineries in the morning, have a big, long lunch, and check out two more in the afternoon. That way, you’re splitting up your drinking and getting a lot of food in your stomach before tasting. Maybe you won’t get to every winery that you’d like to try, but Walla Walla will still be here whenever you’d like to come back!
The way Walla Walla is set up, it is so easy to overdo it on wineries. Each wine tasting area (West side, Airport, Downtown, South side) has a whole lot of wineries in a row, and it tricks you into thinking that you should just go down the road, trying all of the wineries in one go. This is not a great plan, which you can probably tell right now, but it gets a little harder to say no once you’ve already been to a couple wineries. Make a plan and stick to it.
After a couple wineries, your poor little taste buds get tired out, and it’ll be harder to distinguish between wines. At that point, any winery visit becomes more drinking than tasting, and that defeats the whole purpose. I think it’s better to take a break and then get back to it when you can actually taste the wines.
At any point, if you can’t remember how many wineries you’ve already been to, it’s time to stop!