I am new to Walla Walla, Washington's premier wine region. It is so exciting watching a community evolve because of the increase of wineries in the valley. With that increase comes a focus on tourism and a change of the type of goods and services a community offers. There are many entrepreneurs attracted to Walla Walla for the opportunities that it offers. What businesses thrive in a wine region?
So far I've seen that tourists visit for a weekend. What have other regions done to keep tourists in town for a longer stay?

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Giving visitors options is key. Wine tasting is fun but unless one is a serious collector, two days is generally sufficient. Many of the wineries do events & offer picnic facilities to cater to families or groups that may not be entirely wine focused. In Sonoma Valley we have many tour companies, as well as companies that offer additional extra-curricular activities like biking, hot air balloon rides, bi-plane rides etc. Generally a growing wine region will see more restaurants as well as specialty stores offering wine and food paraphernalia. Many lodging properties are also now offering cash or coupon incentives to encourage bookings of 3 or more nights.
The more there is available in a region, the more appealing it is. I believe weather is also a factor, the better the weather the more attractive, especially to people from another climate. I would imagine you get a lot of people from Western WA just looking for a weekend away. Incentives to stay another night in lodging could help. Restaurants are key, as is shopping. Unique experiences are a huge draw - winemaker dinners, jazz nights or concerts, some wineries even show outdoor movies! Golf or other sports can also be a draw for some.
I thought I'd give an update about Walla Walla. Much growth has taken place in the last year as the region continues to focus on tourism. Additionally, word is out that Walla Walla is a great place to live and previous residents and new interesting people are settling in the valley.
I think we are up to 120 or so wineries and a few breweries also. The seasons to visit continues to expand with guests coming in late winter through late fall.

Many new events are going on in the valley that are attracting tourists to the area:
-There is an annual road bike stage race (4/15-18) that is receiving much attention.
-Restaurants and specialty food continue to excel as long as they have the support of the local community in the "off-season."
-Ecotourism is on the rise. The focus on sustainability is growing and anything "green" is of interest. Local farms are becoming destinations and seminars and tours are increasing.
-There is now a nightlife in Walla Walla. There are many tasting rooms throughout the quaint downtown area and they offer evening entertainment.
-The Wine Valley Golf Club opened last year and is receiving great reviews.
-Artists continue to settle in Walla Walla and galleries are plentiful.

And the best news is that my lodging business continues to grow. Groups love to stay in a house with friends and family and besides "The Haven," there are many other lodging choices in the valley.
Very nice that you provided an update. If you're still interested in businesses, those businesses that thrive generally offer novel experiences that are oriented toward family/friend groups. By far and away, this has consistently been the case from all the evidence I've observed!


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