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.
I grew up in Pacific Northwest. Washington is where I was born and lived most of my life. Feeling the pull of the coastal regions, I picked up to explore in 1994 and moved to New York, to see how the other half lives. After dabbling in the worlds of television production, animal photography, the music world, and bicycle messengery, I opted to move back to the Seattle area in 2000. I trained to be a computer network technician as the tech bubble exploded and, after a stint as a car-door opening technician, found my way to pursue an interest of mine. In 2004 I began working for a wine distribution company as a merchandiser. I read a lot of labels, asked a lot of questions, met a lot of people and worked my way to a sales position and forward into fine wine. I began a two year wine production course at night through South Seattle Community College and ultimately decided after many trips to the Willamette Valley, to make the move to Oregon. I have lived in McMinnville since 2008 and have worked in many capacities for Panther Creek, Anne Amie, Owen Roe and eventually was offered a position with Winderlea in 2010. Working for Winderlea brings to me all that I love about Oregon: the people, the places, and of course, the wines.
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. When I moved in to my new home, the first thing that I did was unpack the wine cellar, much to the chagrin of my lovely business partner. One of the fun things about collecting wine for me is that, ironically it sort of brings me back to the childhood days of collecting baseball cards. The big difference between these two passionate hobbies is that the wine tastes a whole lot better than the bubblegum they slipped in to packs of cards. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my fiancée 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, and watching/playing sports. Prior to joining Winderlea in May of 2010, I worked in Hospitality & Sales for Archery Summit Winery in Dayton, Oregon.