What to Expect in November & December 2020

A Message from the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance

Thank you for your interest in Walla Walla Valley Wine, we ask for your patience and understanding as individual businesses figure out how to navigate this new terrain.

Most wineries in the Valley are open for curbside pickup and/or delivery.

Some Washington wineries are open for outdoor tasting at this time, Oregon wineries are on a pause for in-person tastings through December 2, 2020.

Consumers should know that we are keeping the safety of our guests, employees and community top of mind while continuing to deliver the unparalleled Walla Walla Valley wine country experience. Please note at this time, we recommend connecting with a winery via telephone prior to visiting.

Current Reopening Information

As of November 18, 2020 Walla Walla Valley wineries in Washington may continue in-person tastings in outdoor settings for groups of 5 or less, with detailed safety measures in place. Wineries on the Oregon side of the Valley are paused for in-person tastings through December 2, 2020. All wineries are able to offer curbside pickup and/or delivery if they so choose.

The Walla Walla Valley as a whole is adopting the carefully phased approaches laid out by both Oregon and Washington to ensure the health and safety of winemakers, tasting room teams, production workers and Walla Walla Valley wine enthusiasts who are eager to engage with wineries once again. In addition, many area wineries have adopted the Peace of Mind Pledge, created by Visit Walla Walla and supported by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce promising to prioritize health and safety above all else throughout the reopening process. You can read the Peace of Mind Pledge in its entirety here.

Like restaurants, wineries and tasting room must observe social distancing requirements to reopen. These requirements include:

  • Outdoor seating only, at 50% capacity, in Washington State.
  • Ensure tables or seating areas are spaced at least six (6) feet apart so that at least six (6) feet between parties is maintained, including when customers approach or leave tables.
  • Limit parties to five (5)  people or fewer in Washington. People in the same party seated at the same table do not have to be six feet apart.
  • No tasting bar service or seating.
  • Minimize the number of staff serving any given table.
  • Face coverings for patrons are required in all places of business as of June 26, 2020. Face coverings can be removed while tasting.

Additional recommendations for wineries include encouraging the use of masks by consumers and recommending reservations or calling ahead to taste. More guidelines can be found here.

Find your way back to Walla Walla Valley Wine

We know you may have a few questions, so we put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Tips & Tricks for navigating wine tasting in the Walla Walla Valley during the initial phases of reopening.

  1. Come Prepared to Taste Outside – As of July 30, wineries in Washington State can mainly serve guests outdoors. We recommend coming prepared for the fall/winter weather – blankets, coats, hats and gloves will ensure you are prepared for cooler temperatures. Wineries are updating their outdoor tasting spaces with heaters, coverings & fire pits as well.
  2. Wear Your Face Covering – Face coverings are required when entering and moving about all places of business in Washington and Oregon. When you are seated for your tasting, your face covering can be removed.
  3. Be Mindful of Designated Spaces – As we all continue to adjust to the norm of social distancing, please be considerate of those around you. The winery and tasting room teams have redesigned their layouts to comply with mandatory regulations. Please stay in your designated tasting area and avoid entering spaces designated for other patrons.
  4. Book Reservations – We recommend that you make appointments with the wineries and tasting rooms you plan to visit. Many wineries are implementing a reservation system, accessible online or via email/phone, view the list here. In general, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you have contacted a winery, either through reservation, or calling ahead to make sure you understand their policies.
  5. Schedule in a Little More Time – Wineries and tasting room teams are working hard to make your visit as seamless as possible. Please be conscious of your scheduled appointments and allow yourself enough time to get from place to place to be on time for in-person tastings.
  6. Take Advantage of Curbside Pickup & Takeout – If you are unable to visit a winery or tasting room for an in-person experience, you can still purchase wine via curbside pickup or takeout. View the list of participating wineries and special promotions here.
  7. Have Fun and Enjoy! – While safety is of the utmost importance, and the wineries and tasting rooms are adding additional measures to clean, sanitize and socially distance, wine country is meant to be enjoyed! We are so grateful for your support of Walla Walla Valley Wine!

FAQ's

Are the wineries and tasting rooms in the Walla Walla Valley open?

The wineries and tasting rooms on the Washington side of the Walla Walla Valley can continue to conduct in-person tastings with groups of 5 or less in outdoor spaces. In-person tasting at Oregon wineries is on pause through December 2, 2020. All wineries can offer curbside pickup and/or delivery if they so choose.

We recommend that you check with each establishment to understand their status. Each business is holding the health and safety of guests and employees in the highest regard as new operating procedures are designed and implemented.

Do I need to make reservations?

We do recommend that you set up appointments in advance with each of the wineries you plan to visit; however, there are some wineries that will be able to accommodate walk-ins. The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance has created a webpage for wineries to share their reservation link and/or instructions here. We welcome you to explore the options and please know that this page will be updated regularly with more information as it becomes available.

Additionally, if you are unable to secure an appointment with a winery or tasting room, curbside and pickup options are still available. You can view the list of promotions here.

Do I need to wear a mask?

Yes, all wineries in both Washington and Oregon require customers to wear a mask when entering and engaging in non-tasting activities. You may remove your mask once you are in your designated tasting area. All winery employees are required to wear a mask. If you are in need of a mask, wineries will be able to provide you one on site.

Can I bring a group?

Yes, small groups of people are allowed during these initial phases. Groups do not need to be from the same household; however, must be associated prior to day of visit. Please note that in Washington, groups are limited to 5 people or less.

How will service be different?

Currently, Washington wineries can only conduct tastings outdoors (beginning July 30) for groups up to 5. Additionally, wineries are required to socially distance areas by 6 feet both inside and outside of their establishments to accommodate in-person tasting.  Tasting bars cannot be utilized for wine tasting and guests will be asked to stay in their designated areas. Winery and tasting room teams are redesigning the experience to take place within your designated space and tasting flights could be pre-poured just prior to your arrival, come in carafes, or some wineries may opt to offer glass pours. Payments will also most likely happen tableside.

What about restaurants?

Many of the Walla Walla Valley dining establishments have been approved to reopen with similar social distancing and limited outdoor capacity regulations in place. However, it is up to each individual business to decide. We recommend that you check with establishments to learn about their status and policies.

Will wineries be serving food? Can we bring food?

We recommend that you check with each winery or tasting room prior to arrival.