Bill Sweat and Donna Morris
Second careers, a well-planned next chapter, the pursuit of our shared passion – all in some way describe our new life in Oregon. The kernels of Winderlea® were spun over milestone birthdays and anniversaries, travels to our favorite wine regions, and nightly dinners with a bottle of wine after good and not so good days at the office.
In the early 90s we fell in love with Pinot noir. Its elegance and sensuality – and the beautiful way it paired with a range of foods delighted us. As we tasted through wines from across the country we found the characteristics we most loved in Oregon Pinot noir. We believe it is due in large part to Oregon’s unique climate and soils paired with the heritage of artisanal craftsmanship and an obsession with making small lots of the highest quality wine. On a practical level we found the Oregon wine community to be a collaborative one – where newcomers are welcomed, tutored and expected to perfect their craft.
In 2006 we relocated from Boston and have made Dundee, Oregon our home. We are committed to continuing the traditions of responsible stewardship of the land and the highest quality artisan winemaking.
Hospitality & Sales
Yamhill County is home for me again after discovering, through my travels and studies around the world, that this is a pretty darn special place after all. I developed a love for wine while in college, where I spent way too much of my summer paychecks building up a wine collection. That tradition has followed me to my career working in the wine business. One of my favorite aspects of working in the wine industry is that it is a never-ending knowledge quest. Wine is so vast, even if one professed to have learned all there is to know, a new vintage rolls around. Most recently, I’ve really been in to the white wines of Oregon including our always satisfying Chardonnay. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife Suzanne and our two dogs Ruby (Australian Sheppard) and Duke (English Mastiff). I also enjoy baking, working on the house, trying to figure out the stock market, traveling the world, pondering the next great invention and watching/playing sports.
Tasting Room Associate
I was born in Falkirk, Scotland and spent most of my youth in a small town in West Lothian Scotland called Bo’ness. The son of an Irish woman and a Scottish man, I am a member of both the Lovat and Frasier clans. As a youngster I had great ambitions of becoming a professional soccer player and later on a musician. While I failed to make a full time living at either, both are still very important in my life.
After feeding my desire to travel throughout Europe, I earned a History degree in Roman Archeology. I married in 1980, and raised a family of four lovely girls. Beginning in the 1990s I was able to combine my passion for travel with my skills as a teacher and taught in New Zealand as well as in Saudi Arabia, where I worked for King Fahad. Teaching abroad opened me up to travel. I visited Australia, Papa New Guinea, the Polynesian Islands, Syria, and parts of Northern Africa to name just a few. My travels introduced me to many wines and ignited my love for the subject as well as the grape.
In 2011 I married an American and together we live very happily in sleepy Carlton, Oregon. I have been lucky that I have managed to resume my wine career, which started while working in a retail wine shop in New Zealand. All of this has contributed to a very content new life with my wife Victoria here in America. That’s my story as briefly as I could make it. Come visit Winderlea and I’ll update you on the newest chapters of my life’s book.
Tasting Room Associate
I started my wine career about five years ago back in Chicago. While studying at Columbia College for my degree in cinematography and photography, I began to explore the world of wine. As my library of wine textbooks began to grow so did my passion for the industry. From there, I dedicated myself to become a certified sommelier. I’d get my first steps as a wine professional in retail, working as a manager in wine shops throughout the Chicago area. It was engaging to connect with clients during the tasting events I ran and always exciting to develop my department’s selection. Eventually, I had the opportunity to travel to Mendoza, Argentina to work as an intern in the tasting room at Familia Zuccardi. Here, I met many winemakers and built up a desire to work in the cellar for a winery during harvest.
In 2013, I found just the harvest opportunity I was looking for as an intern for Girard Winery in Sonoma, working with Bordeaux varietals from the Napa Valley. Once the 2013 harvest finished up, I traveled to Portland, Oregon for the opportunity to work for Winderlea Vineyard and Winery in the tasting room. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the wines and the industry of the Willamette Valley. I’m excited for the harvest of 2014 as I will have the opportunity to be a part of the cellar team and work with our winemaker, Robert Brittan, and assistant winemaker, Vince Vidrine.
Shipping Logistics and Compliance Specialist
Although an Arizona native, the Red Hills of Dundee have been my home for 23 years; talk about extremes. While I will always love the desert, this beautiful, lush valley is the place I feel at peace. After a short career as a reading resource teacher for the Mesa Arizona Public School system, my journey northward began. I left southern California seven years later in search of a livable place away from the crowds to raise a family and continue to grow our college textbook publishing business. Ironically, there were 3 giants of college publishing living in this valley, two of whom, had already traded in their book-bags for vineyards.
With the kids grown and the publishing company sold, what should a girl who lives in the middle of wine country do? Sharing the bounty of our beautiful area with friends and family is how it started. Then as the wine industry matured and my friends and neighbors began making wine, becoming involved seemed like a really good fit.
Great wine, beautiful views and most importantly a loving, supporting community is what this area is all about. I get to have all the fun of working in a vineyard and winery and even be able to walk to work. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.