Kansas City Star: Oregon understands the complex language of wine
From the article
“Wineries throughout the Willamette Valley are fashioning excellence from the new clones. At the pinnacle are chardonnays from Brickhouse, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Ponzi (their reserve is gorgeous) and Walter Scott. But just as deserving of your attention are chardonnays from Cooper Mountain, Antica Terra, Brittan, Eyrie, Hyland, Lange, Solena, Stoller Family and Winderlea.”
Winderlea Rosé of Pinot Noir featured on MORE Good Day Oregon
Winderlea® Vineyard & Winery Receives B Corp Certification
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Donna Morris
Winderlea® Vineyard & Winery Receives B Corp Certification 2nd Oregon Winery and 4th Globally to Achieve Comprehensive Business Sustainability
Dundee, OREGON – 22 APRIL 2015 Winderlea® Vineyard and Winery, a boutique winery specializing in the limited production of Pinot noir and Chardonnay from Oregon, announced today that they have successfully completed and received B Corp certification by the nonprofit certifying organization B Lab. Winderlea® achieved certification after meeting rigorous standards of social
and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Winderlea® is just the 2nd winery in Oregon and 4th winery globally to have achieved this comprehensive business sustainability certification. B Corp certification is to sustainable business what LEED® certification is to green building or Fair Trade® certification is to coffee. Today, there is a growing community of over 1,250 Certified B Corps from more than 38 countries and 60 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business voluntarily by meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability and performance.
Upon the purchase of a 32-year old vineyard in 2006, Winderlea® Vineyard and Winery owners Bill Sweat and Donna Morris built their business with these concepts in mind. Over the course of two years, Winderlea® introduced sustainable farming practices that enabled the vineyard to earn its LIVE® and Salmon Safe® certifications in 2008. In 2009, Winderlea® began employing
biodynamic practices and became one of just 14 wineries in Oregon to achieve phase 2 compliance in the carbon reduction program established by the Oregon Environmental Council.
Winderlea’s® vineyard Tasting Room was designed by Portland architect Ernie Munch to employ both passive and active energy reduction strategies and in 2008 became the first Oregon tasting room to install an electric vehicle charger. From the time they opened their tasting room in 2008 thru 2011, Winderlea® donated 100% of their tasting room fees to iSalud!, the organization that provides healthcare services to Oregon’s vineyard workers and families. Since 2012 Winderlea® has made a monthly contribution from tasting fees to support iSalud! as well as participating in an annual auction that further supports iSalud’s! funding. In addition to their support of iSalud!, Winderlea® contributes over 5% of company revenue to non-profit organizations focused on education and the arts.
Winderlea® owners Bill Sweat and Donna Morris were intrigued when they first learned about B Corps and their mission to “use business as a force for good.” This complemented what they were doing with their vineyard, building, philanthropic and people practices and their goal of building a business that reflected their values. Donna shares that they were motivated by their desire to make great wine as well as to create a holistic sustainable business. Bill adds that for him the B Corp experience gave them the opportunity to assess their practices with the most sustainable businesses in the world and that it gives them a process to continue to improve their practices.
While the couple feels there is still a great deal more to be done, being a B Corp gives them a map that will lead to ongoing improvement and connects them with a community of like -minded business owners.
Winderlea® wines can be purchased directly on-line, through Club Membership, at their sustainable estate tasting room in Dundee or winery tasting room in McMinnville, Oregon. A selection of Winderlea® wines are also available at fine restaurants and wine shops throughout the country. For a listing of states to which Winderlea can ship and a list of distributors through which
restaurants and wine shops may purchase, visit the Winderlea® web site at www.winderlea.com
Winderlea featured in The World of Fine Wine
Winderlea was recently named one of the new Oregonians in The World of Fine Wine. From the article:
“Three vintages on, Winderlea has become one of the showpiece wineries of the Willamette. its Pinot noirs from the estate vineyard, and from grapes purchased from the adjoining Ana Vineyard, show the seriousness of purpose of good Burgundy, perhaps, but are filled with the sunshine-ripened cherry and dark-berry flavors of Oregon. That was Sweat’s blueprint from the start. “Rock ’n’ roll traces its roots to blues and country and rockabilly,” he explains. “And rock is none of those things and also all of those things. We knew coming out here that we weren’t making Burgundy. This is a different place. But where we started from was a love of Burgundy—and perhaps you can taste a bit of that in our wines.”
Winderlea Featured in "Oregon Wine Press"
Karl Klooster writes, “It won’t be long before word gets out that the little winery referred to by its owners as a “luxury boutique” is, indeed, a viticultural version of Gucci, Hermès and Versace.” This article also appeared in the Yamhill Valley News Register in October 2008.
For Immediate Release
Winderlea® Vineyard & Winery
Contact: Donna Morris
Winderlea® Vineyard & Winery Opens New Tasting Room
and Releases 2006 Inaugural Vintage
Winderlea® Vineyard & Winery – a luxury boutique winery specializing in limited production Oregon Pinot noir announced today the opening of its new tasting room on Worden Hill Road in Dundee. Owners Donna Morris and Bill Sweat are also releasing Winderlea’s inaugural vintage built around the legendary Goldschmidt Vineyard in the heart of the Dundee Hills, which they purchased in 2006. The purchase included 20 acres on the Red Hills Bench, the area in which Oregon’s international recognition for great Pinot noir began.
Boasting some of the oldest vines in the Willamette Valley – the vineyard was planted in 1974 — the property sits on the south side of Worden Hill Road with ideal elevations of 480 to 570 feet. The original plantings include Pommard, Wadenswil, Dijon and the so-called Coury clones of Pinot noir. Today the site is composed of 13 blocks entirely devoted to Pinot noir.
Winderlea’s new sustainably-built 4000 square foot tasting room, which includes a commercial kitchen, offices and equipment storage, was designed by Ernie Munch and Travis Butler of Ernest R. Munch, Architect & Urban Planner, LLC of Portland, Oregon. The firm was chosen for its reputation as a leader in sustainable architecture and experience with winery related projects. Winderlea’s new building was designed and built to take advantage of its site and minimize the use of electricity. The building is designed to conserve energy and shift its source of energy to that which can be harvested on-site, principally sunlight. Winderlea® has installed solar hot water heaters and Day4 Energy photovoltaic modules to meet its energy needs. The building also relies on passive solar heating, natural ventilation and daylight harvesting for lighting. And, with an eye toward the future, the parking lot will feature a station for electric vehicles to recharge.
The modern structure was designed to perform its function as a gatherer of solar energy and to highlight the expansive views of Winderlea® and neighboring vineyards. Many of the materials used for construction contain recycled components, are sustainable and produce a healthy interior environment. The east and south sides of the building are made up entirely of glass and aluminum providing dramatic views. An elevated patio off of the south side of the building further blurs the line between indoors and outdoors. The tasting room was built by R&H Construction of Portland, Oregon..
With the opening of Winderlea’s tasting room, Morris and Sweat are releasing their inaugural 2006 vintage made up of 3 bottlings: the 2006 Winderlea® Goldschmidt Pinot noir – a single vineyard designate from their estate vineyard, the 2006 Winderlea® ANA Pinot noir – a single vineyard designate from the highly regarded ANA vineyard which abuts Winderlea®, and the 2006 Winderlea® Inaugural Reserve Pinot noir made up of fruit sourced from the neighboring ANA and Weber vineyards. Acclaimed winemaker Robert Brittan formerly of Stags Leap Winery makes Winderlea® wines.
Winderlea’s Tasting Room, located at 8905 NE Worden Hill Road in Dundee, will be open Memorial Day through Thanksgiving on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11AM to 4PM. On Fridays during July and August, Winderlea® will offer a 3-course lunch paired with wines for up to 12 guests. These menus will be created and prepared by some of the most popular chefs in the area. Advance reservations will be required.
All proceeds from the winery’s $10 tasting fee will be donated to ¡Salud! – a unique alliance between Oregon winemakers, Tuality Healthcare and medical professionals to provide education and access to healthcare services for Oregon’s seasonal vineyard workers and their families.
Winderlea® Wine Company, LLC was founded in 2005 by Donna Morris and Bill Sweat, as an outgrowth of their passion for great Pinot noir. Winderlea® wines will also be available through a limited number of fine wine stores and restaurants as well as online at www.winderlea.com.
Winderlea in the April Issue of Kiplinger
An excerpt from the article “Retire to Your Dream Job”, written by Mary Beth Franklin:
“For many boomers, midlife is a time to explore completely new options. Donna Morris and Bill Sweat spent more than 20 years — most of their married life — working in the financial-services industry, she in marketing and he in operations. About ten years ago, the couple started thinking about what kind of business they could run together when they left the corporate world. “We wanted to do something with a product that you could touch, hold and feel, and wine was something we were both passionate about,” says Morris, 48.”
Bill and Donna were featured in the New York Times article “How to Walk a Mile in Your Dream Career” by Matt Villano.
How to Walk a Mile in Your Dream Career
AFTER 28 years at an electronics plant in her hometown, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Toni Cory found herself out of a job when the plant closed. Instead of looking for another manufacturing job, she vowed to start a dog day-care and kennel business.
Although she had dogs of her own, she had no clue where to start. To help, she called on VocationVacations, a company based in Portland, Ore., that enables the curious to spend time trying out potential new jobs. The company hooked up Ms. Cory with Dawn Walton, an owner of the Dog Zone, a dog day care business in nearby Cedar Rapids.
There, Ms. Cory had an experience she says she will never forget.
Over two and a half days, she walked dogs; she washed them; she groomed them and fed them. When she wasn’t dealing with dogs directly, she cleaned kennels, calmed cranky customers and balanced budget sheets.
Ms. Cory returned home, she said, exhausted but fulfilled. Three months later, she opened Almost Home, a dog day care and boarding service in Mount Pleasant.
“It was hard work, but that experience changed my life,” Ms. Cory said. “I had a good idea I was going to do doggie day care, but getting out there and doing it was the period at the end of the sentence that convinced me to make it real.”
This is the idea behind VocationVacations — putting dream careers into practice. The company sells one- to three-day immersions in 110 vocations, ranging from alpaca farming to sports announcing. The experiences are part getaway, part professional development.
The company’s president, Brian Kurth, was himself a frustrated marketing executive when he founded the enterprise in 2004. Since then, nearly 1,000 customers have paid $399 to $1,999 for a potentially life-changing experience.
“The whole idea was to create a place where people could try an entirely new career without having to quit their day jobs,” said Mr. Kurth, who is 40. “That kind of risk-free freedom and flexibility can be priceless if you’re seriously considering making a change.”
Mr. Kurth’s service is a commercial twist on an old idea — mentoring. The small-business world is full of such programs, often free and offered by nonprofit groups, in which business owners provide knowledge and advice to would-be entrepreneurs. The Small Business Administration, for example, sponsors the Service Corps of Retired Executives, or Score, a free program to help young businesses.
VocationVacations differs in its immersive approach. The experience begins when a customer calls or logs on to the company’s Web site, vocationvacations.com, and selects a job. The company then connects customers (whom Mr. Kurth calls “vocationers”) with participating “mentors” — small-business owners who get a percentage of the fee.
Next, the staff members (Mr. Kurth has eight part-time employees) arrange for independent career coaches to chat with customers about their expectations and long-term goals. These meetings are optional, but Mr. Kurth said that most customers have obliged. The coaches are available to meet after the experience, too.
The highlight of every vocation vacation, of course, is the experience. In some cases, customers follow along with their mentors as observers. In others, mentors toss customers right into a daily routine, commanding them to prepare hors d’oeuvres, crunch spreadsheets or clean bird cages.
Jessica Caulfield, 28, a former real estate agent, took a vocation vacation with the Global Purchasing Companies, a retail fashion buyer in New York, and spent two days following clothes buyers on their chores. A few months later, she opened a women’s clothing boutique named Jesse James in Hoboken, N.J.
In Grand Forks, N.D., Paul Holje and George Kelley opened Dakota Harvest Bakery after two days of intensive study at Pearl Bakery in Portland, Ore. The men kneaded dough, helped customers and balanced books. Mr. Kelley, 44, a former air-traffic controller, said the experience enabled him and Mr. Holje to experiment with their new careers before jumping in.
“Pearl headed us off from making a bunch of pretty significant mistakes,” Mr. Kelley said, referring, for example, to preparing for the lunch rush. “It was more than just an immersion; it was a lesson in how to succeed.”
The Vacations model does not work for everyone, however. Chris Ronan, a systems architect with eMarket Solutions, an Internet company in Dallas, said his experience with Linda Lindsay, the owner of Stone Wolf Vineyards in McMinnville, Ore., was eye opening in a different way.
Mr. Ronan signed up in October 2004, convinced that winemaking was his next career. After spending two days working at the winery, however, Mr. Ronan, 38, said he decided the business wasn’t for him.
“It was a lot more intensive than I thought it would be,” said Mr. Ronan, who recounted pulling grapes off a truck, crushing them and working in the barrel room among his activities. “I learned that if I were to go into wine, I would not want to have to make a living at it,” but would do it for fun.
This kind of disillusionment is not always bad, particularly if it saves someone from going down the wrong career path. Mr. Kurth said that while he aimed to make every vocationer happy, he recognized that sometimes the best thing for a person is to affirm a negative.
“Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean the experience hasn’t been good for you,” he said. “Better that you try something and learn that you don’t like it than make a life change and realize a few weeks in that you’ve made a total mistake.”
The VocationVacations immersion was entirely positive for Bill Sweat and Donna Morris. After 20 years as financial advisers for Fidelity Investments in Boston, the couple retired in 2005 to try something new.
Their something was also wine. Mr. Sweat and Ms. Morris were paired with Ms. Lindsay at Stone Wolf Vineyards as well, where they spent two days blending, bottling and making wine. They learned about bookkeeping and other aspects of running a wine business, too.
“They were very eager to learn everything,” Ms. Lindsay said. “They walked away with enough information to make informed decisions regarding their own future in the business.”
The two days proved invaluable for Mr. Sweat, 48, and Ms. Morris, 47. Last year, the couple moved to Dundee, Ore., and bought the former Goldschmidt winery, which they renamed Winderlea®. Mr. Sweat said they planned to release 600 cases of pinot noir, the winery’s specialty, next year.
Technically, this will make Mr. Sweat and Ms. Morris competitors of Ms. Lindsay’s — a risk that she and most other mentors accept. A handful require vocationers to sign agreements stipulating that they won’t open a business within a 50-mile radius.
Other risks exist, too. Marci Alboher, the author of “One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success,” said that for many VocationVacations customers, one or two days is hardly enough time to get a complete sense of what a new vocation may entail.
“To me, all you’re doing on vocation vacations is flirting,” said Ms. Alboher, who lives in New York. “If you like what you see, it’s up to you to take it to the next level and make it into a legitimate career transition exercise.”
Mr. Kurth acknowledged that the experiences his company offered were meant only as “tastes,” and that he encouraged customers to seek more training if they were still interested in switching after the immersion.
He said that some customers — nearly 30 percent, according to interviews — sign up out of curiosity, and never intend to change careers.
Although Mr. Kurth declined to reveal exactly how much his business earned last year, he said that VocationVacations was profitable and expanding. After starting with just a few immersion programs, the company’s vocations now have 225 mentors in 35 states.
Most of these experiences, including cheese maker, clock restorer and voice-over artist, cost less than $1,000 for two days. At the other end of the spectrum, a three-day immersion with Mary Dann, a Southern California wedding coordinator whose clients include Hollywood and sports stars, costs $1,999.
Mr. Kurth said the company would add 30 more immersion experiences this spring, in marine biology, sports umpiring and landscape architecture, among other fields.
“As long as someone has dreamed about a second career, we’ve probably got an experience that will make that person happy,” he said. “It’s never too late to give something a try.”