Single Vineyard Pinot Noir and Winderlea Vineyards

Today I am visiting You May Be Wandering for Sandy’s “No Passport Required” link party. My contribution is a post about our trip to Oregon for wine tasting.

If you like to travel or even dream about traveling, you should visit Sandy’s site. It is full of great stories, great travel tips and gorgeous photographs.

Mo Wine Please

~ Spotlight On Winderlea Vineyards and Winery ~

The highlight of this trip to Oregon was our visit to Winderlea Vineyard and Winery.

Winderlea is owned by a couple of Peter’s former work colleagues, Donna Morris and Bill Sweat.  Winderlea is described as a boutique winery specializing in limited production of Oregon Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Donna and Bill put their heart and soul into their wines – and it shows.

I’m not much of a Chardonnay drinker but I do love the Winderlea Chardonnay.  To me, it has more of a savory taste as opposed to the acidic, sour apple tartness that many Chardonnays exhibit.

(Sorry, not much of an expert analysis. File this under “I just know what I like.”)

Where Winderlea really shows its stuff is in its array of mostly single vineyard Pinot Noirs.

Let’s talk a little bit about reading labels and using them to understand just what you are drinking.

When a winery uses grapes from a number of their own vineyards you might see it labeled as 2011 Winderlea Vineyards Pinot Noir. This indicates that the grapes have all come from vineyards owned and cared for by Winderlea.

By the way, wineries will often purchase plots of land throughout their region (not necessarily adjacent to their winery) to expand their production or to take advantage of different climate and soil conditions in other parts of their area. Since they are under the same ownership, these are still considered to be, in this case, Winderlea Vineyards or Winderlea Estate Vineyards for labeling purposes.


Winderlea Vineyards

Courtesy Winderlea Vineyards and Winery

If you see a specific vineyard mentioned on a wine bottle label, for example 2011 Winderlea Juliard Vineyard Pinot Noir, it means the grapes used to produce the wine were entirely harvested from that particular plot of land.

Sometimes, the “single vineyard” from which the grapes are harvested belongs to someone else.

The 2011 Winderlea Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir is an example of this. A number of wineries in the Willamette (rhymes with dammit) Valley buy grapes from the Shea Vineyard and produce wines under their own winery’s label.

Think of it as giving a bunch of different artists access to the same set of paints and seeing how each transforms the materials into something different, putting their own signature on the finished product.

This can be a very interesting wine tasting comparison: open a few bottles from different wineries all using grapes from the same vineyard (like the Shea Vineyard) and enjoy the differences.

When a wine label references a region, like the 2011 Winderlea Dundee Hills Vineyards, this means that the grapes used in production for this wine have come from a variety of different vineyards but all were within the Dundee Hills AVA (American Viticulture Area).  Some of these vineyards are their own and some belong to someone else.

Winery owners, at least from what we saw in Oregon, are very supportive of one another.

During our stay, we spent time visiting other wineries with Donna and Bill. Time and time again we heard of conversations about one winery buying grapes from another.

These deals help both sides. But still, aren’t the wineries in competition with one another? Isn’t this like helping your competitor to increase their sales?

When I asked Bill these questions his response was that whatever benefits one winery in the region will benefit all with an increase in reputation and visitors.

Imagine, businesses giving each other a hand up rather than a smack down.

Another way in which Oregon winemakers help the community is through the ¡Salud! organization.

¡Salud! is a partnership between Oregon winemakers and health professionals whose mission is to provide care for the seasonal vineyard workers and their families.

Every dollar of the tasting fee that Winderlea collects at their winery is donated to ¡Salud! . Winderlea and others throughout Oregon wine country participate in a variety of other fundraising efforts to support this important cause.

Winderlea’s wines are available online from their website and at retail locations in some states. Check here for a store near you.

(Psssst, Mom. I see that your Total Wine store carries Winderlea. We’ll have to pick some up the next time I come to visit, ok?)

Winderlea winery

Enjoy these wonderful wines in your home, but if you have a chance you should take a trip to visit this gorgeous part of the country and, specifically, the stunning Winderlea tasting room.

Grab a glass of one of Winderlea’s killer Pinot Noirs, stroll out onto their comfortable and expansive patio and take in the sights of the beautiful Dundee Hills.

(OK, you know the drill by now. Here’s the part where I have to say that this was not a sponsored post and that all the opinions are from little old me – not an expert but surely a lover of wine.)

So how about you? Have you ever enjoyed a wine from Winderlea Vineyards?  Do you have a favorite “single vineyard”?

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Thank you SO much, Mo!!! You are now officially my wine tasting guru!!
    Have a wonderful week! xoxo
    Sandy recently posted…“No Passports Required” Link PartyMy Profile

  2. Oooohhhh… I see they sell Winderlea wines at my favorite wine store near where I live. I’m definitely going to have to pick some up the next time I go in. This was a fantastic write-up, Mo. I really learned a lot!
    Kristen recently posted…Does our name make us who we are?My Profile

  3. I love trying new wines… Will watch for Winderlea! Thanks!
    Teri recently posted…Estate Sale SCORE! Antique Hamilton Printers CabinetMy Profile

  4. Mo i love Chardonnay and I purchase from Rochford in the Yarra Valley. Will take you there when you are in Australia one day.
    Karen Main recently posted…25 simple challenges to add a zing to everyday life.My Profile

  5. I feel like I just got quite the wine education 🙂 I’ll definitely be reading the labels a little more carefully now when I go to pick out a bottle!
    Trish recently posted…Monster of a partyMy Profile

  6. Every time I have heard a wine maker speak, they talk about how the vineyards help each other – it seems like a wonderful industry to be part of.

    P.S. I hope to answer the questions from the nomination sometime in the next few weeks – thanks for the mention 🙂
    Vicki recently posted…Planting Fall Bulbs and SeedsMy Profile

    • I always forget that, at their core, wine makers are farmers so it makes total sense that they would be of the temperament to help one another. No worries about the nomination questions! They should be fun, not something that gives you stress! Please feel free to do as much or as little as you want!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Hanukkah and ChristmasMy Profile

  7. I live in Oregon and you’ve given me a perfect thing to do on a date day with my hubby!

  8. It sounds like an amazing winery…I am definitely going to check it out! :)-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted…We Have A “Cat”astrophe On Our HandsMy Profile

  9. Thanks for the nice comment you left on my Reasons I Love Bavaria: Wildwochen post! I can’t wait to hit the states again so I can visit Oregon. It’s been on my list for a while.

  10. GREAT story about a wonderful vineyard and ¡Salud! participant.
    Winderlea truly walks their talk – while making some quality juice.
    Thanks for sharing their story.

  11. Who knew a wine label held so much info? Not me. Until today. Thanks Mo.
    I’m not a big Chardonnay fan. However, should our liquor stores carry Winderlea I’ll check it out. For research purposes of course… Will let you know what I think.
    Kelly McKenzie recently posted…Whale Watching? No Thank You.My Profile

  12. my favorite pinot is papapapietro, but not sure if they’re single vineyard. speaking of pinots, we’ve decided to nickname this baby pinot because of a quote from the movie sideways:

    Miles Raymond: …it’s a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It’s uh, it’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.

  13. We have never traveled to Oregon but I would love to go. Thanks for showing us around!
    grownandflown recently posted…Why Parents Should Push Their Kids to Play Team SportsMy Profile

  14. Sounds like an amazing trip! I fall into the ‘not an expert, but I know what I like’ category with wine too. I’ll have to see if I can find Winderlea locallly.


  1. […] A visit to Winderlea Vineyards was the highlight of our Oregon trip. Between their Chardonnay and variety of single vineyard Pinot Noirs, this place rocks!  […]

  2. […] Remember when I talked about the single vineyard Pinot Noirs from Oregon? […]

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