For Donna Morris and Bill Sweat, the owners of Oregon’s Winderlea Vineyard & Winery, it all started with their first date at a little wine shop in the North End of Boston
. Fast forward 20-plus years and wine had become a big part of their lives as collectors, consumers, and travelers.
They had both been working in the financial services industry for years, but the call of wine was getting stronger and stronger. "Bill and I had a desire to work with a tangible product," Donna says. "We kept coming back to wine and vineyards."
Their answer was to make the leap from comfortable careers, move to Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley
, and buy the famed Goldschmidt Vineyard in 2006. They changed its name to Winderlea, after a home they own in Vermont, believing the word sounded feminine, sensuous, and elegant—like the wines they planned to make.
They focused their energies on their love — Pinot Noir. Under the watchful eye of renowned winemaker and viticulturalist Robert Brittan, who has 30 years of experience in some of Napa’s finest wineries, their first vintages confirm that they have put all the right elements together. The wines, the vineyard, the tasting room, and their business practices all reflect Donna and Bill’s commitment to stewardship.
In 2008, they earned LIVE and Salmon Safe certifications for their vineyard. The following year they started using organic farming methods, and the year after that, they began to employ Biodynamic practices
. Their winery is one of just 14 in Oregon that has completed phase two of the state’s carbon-neutral program.
They also have an environmentally friendly tasting room that employs many passive energy management techniques. Solar hot water and solar panels produce about half of their energy needs.
One of the winery’s most important sustainable business practices is their donation of tasting room fees to ¡Salud! an organization that provides health care services to Oregon’s vineyard workers and their families.
WHAT TO BUY:
’08 Winderlea Vineyard Pinot Noir Ripe black cherry, anise, cola, ripe blueberry, blackberry $50
’08 Chardonnay White peach, lemongrass, stone fruit, lemon, green apple, grass $30
’07 Estate Pinot Noir Toast, spice box, earth notes, cherry, cranberry $50
8905 NE Worden Hill Rd.
Dundee, OR 97115
Tasting Room Open Feb–Dec Thur–Mon 11 a.m–4 p.m.
SPECIAL NOTES: Summertime lunches, reservations required, wine club savings, Biodynamic farming practices.