The Winderlea Story

Founded in 2006

In 2006 we relocated from Boston and made Dundee, Oregon our home. Second careers and naivety in pursuit of our shared passion to grow grapes and make wine describe our lives 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. Today we are committed to the traditions of responsible stewardship of the land and the highest quality artisan winemaking that started here in the 60s.

Committed to Our Winegrowing Community

Oregon’s unique climate and soils paired with a heritage of artisanal winemaking and a practice with making small lots of the highest quality wine established the foundation. An obsession with sustainability drew us in further. 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 and continue the tradition.

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About The name

Winderlea — pronounced Win-dur-lee — is a made up word with a little bit of history. Winderlea is the name of a Vermont property we purchased in 2001. The 1860s property was named by the Gerard Family, who owned, loved and nurtured the land and the house for over 60 years. As former owner Jim Gerard explained, the word Winderlea was crafted by his parents combining the word, “Wind,” with the word “Lea,” meaning meadow or pasture. Combined, the words create Winderlea, a word evoking the meaning “Wind in the Meadow.” Winderlea was an idyllic place for the Gerard family and is the same for us. As we searched for a name for our vineyard and winery, Winderlea is the name we kept coming back to. We believe that it evokes an idyllic place and the graceful wines we are making.

Our Team


Founders Bill Sweat & Donna Morris

Shortly after graduating college, Donna (Boston College) and Bill (Bates College) ended up at the same company in Boston where they were lucky enough to find a group of people interested in wine. Boston was emerging from its long history as a food desert with a generation of young chefs, many of whom worked their way through the kitchen at Seasons restaurant in the Bostonian Hotel, opening new restaurants. Best of all, they cared about wine. We couldn’t afford to eat out often and some nights dinner was a $5 glass of Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet (we wish we could confirm it was the Georges de Latour but we can’t remember) and a permanently refillable bowl of smoked almonds at the Bostonian.

There were three great wine shops within a block of where we worked.  One of them, Federal Wine and Spirits, is still open and an icon. Bill lived in the North End and would walk by Martignetti’s liquor every day on his way to and from work. To this day he still remembers the sales person who took the time to explain how Amarone is made.

A couple of years later we were married in a small town in central Massachusetts and held our reception at a great Victorian Inn. Because we brought the wines they didn’t end up on the Inn’s dinner menu and for the life of us we don’t recall what they were. 

Life took us to St Louis, DC/Virginia, back to Boston, NYC (Bill) and Tokyo.  All along the way our wine journey continued and our cellar grew. At first, when we decided to leave the corporate world and go off on our own it didn’t occur to us that we should trade the corporate paycheck for something we love, but after a misstep or two the lightbulb finally turned on and illuminated the path to winegrowing. Now, in our 18th vintage, Oregon is the place we’ve lived the longest in almost 40 years of marriage. 

Today we look out over the vineyards that we have stewarded for almost twenty years. We are surrounded by good people who have built this wine community and who have welcomed us to join them as we now welcome others.


Winderlea Ambassador

Leigh Bartholomew, Viticulturist




Consulting Winemaker

Allison Fields, Operations Manager


Operations Manager

Staci Hamilton, Winderlea Ambassador


Winderlea Ambassador


Winderlea Ambassador

Christy Hitz, Winderlea Ambassador


Winderlea Ambassador

Scott Nagle, Director of Sales


Director of Sales

Deanna Ornelas, Hospitality and Tasting Room Manager


Hospitality and Tasting Room Manager




Associate Winemaker


Winery Dog

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