History & Winemaking
"While Lee has made excellent wines since starting the Morgan Winery brand in 1982, their distinctiveness and personality have soared in the past three years, and Double L has much to do with that."
- The San Francisco Chronicle
Conscientious, innovative farming regimens allied with traditional, “minimalist” winemaking techniques craft wines of balance, elegance and distinction. For Morgan Winery, this single-minded focus has produced a record of consistent, category leading, award winning wines.
Dan’s goal is to produce wines that are “true” - true to the variety and vineyard source and show true balance and complexity, while being enjoyable upon release. Morgan delivers consistency from bottle to bottle, vintage to vintage by nurturing sustainable, long-term relationships with their own vineyard and cellar crews, top-notch growers, and the finest French barrel coopers.
In 2005, Gianni Abate joined Morgan as winemaker, allowing Dan Lee to concentrate on developing the Double L Estate. The creative partnership between Dan and Gianni has proved highly successful, taking the Morgan portfolio to new heights in quality and popularity.
|1978||Dan Morgan Lee left UC Davis for a full winemaking position at Jekel Vineyard in Monterey County.|
|1980||Dan Morgan Lee met Donna George at a Monterey County Vintners and Growers meeting.|
|1982||Daniel Morgan Lee and Donna George founded Morgan Winery and produced 2,000 cases of Monterey Chardonnay. This first Morgan Chardonnay was awarded a gold medal at the Orange County Fair Wine Competition and won a taste-off of gold medal winners and received the Platinum medal from Wine & Spirits Magazine.|
|1984||Began producing Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma under St. Vrain brand.|
|1986||Produced first red wines including Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands and Carneros along with Carmel Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Sauvignon Blanc labeling was switched from the St. Vrain brand to the Morgan Winery label. Dan Morgan Lee and Donna George marry in Carmel.|
|1989||Began producing a single vineyard Chardonnay from Edna Valley’s MacGregor Vineyard.|
|1990||Began producing reserve Pinot Noir; both Monterey and Carneros.|
|1991||Stopped producing Cabernet Sauvignon. Annie and Jackie Lee, twin daughters, were born – the “Double L’s”.|
|1992||Began producing Dry Creek Zinfandel.|
|1993||Began producing Reserve Chardonnay.|
|1994||Stopped producing Reserve Pinot Noir from Carneros. Began producing Syrah from Dry Creek Valley and Marsanne.|
|1995||Began producing Malvasia Blanca. Son, Joshua Lee, is born.|
|1996||Dan and Donna Lee purchased the Double L Ranch as bare ground. Began sourcing Monterey County Sauvignon Blanc, which made up 38% of the blend. The labeled Pinot Noir appellation changed from California to Monterey. The labeled Syrah appellation changed to Monterey. Started producing Crow’s Roost; the precursor of Cotes du Crow’s. Stopped producing Marsanne.|
|1997||Planted 25 acres on the bottom field of the Double L Vineyard to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Began producing Pinot Gris|
|1998||Stopped producing Zinfandel to emphasize on Syrah from Monterey. Stopped producing Malvasia to concentrate on Pinot Gris. The labeled Reserve Pinot Noir was changed to SLH. Produced a single vineyard Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir for 1998 & 1999. Began purchasing Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The 1995 Reserve Chardonnay was awarded as one of Wine Enthusiast’s “Top Ten Chardonnays of 1998.|
|1996||Morgan Winery was awarded as Wine & Spirits “Winery of the Year.”|
The first harvest from Double L Vineyard occurred. Began producing Tierra Mar Syrah. Began purchasing Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir grapes. The 1998 Sauvignon Blanc was awarded as one of Wine Enthusiast’s “Top 100 Best Buys."
Began producing Single Vineyard selections for SLH Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; stopped the Reserve program for those wines. The labeled Monterey Pinot Noir was changed to SLH with growing production from Double L Vineyard and other SLH sources. Cotes du Crow’s production was switched to the Morgan label, replacing Crow’s Roost. Planted an additional 1.5 acres of Pinot Noir at the Double L Vineyard.
|2001||Began producing “Hat Trick” Double L Vineyard Chardonnay and Metallico “Un-oaked” Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc is now comprised of 100% Monterey fruit. Planted 1 acre of Syrah, 1 acre of Pinot Noir along with 4.5 acres of rootstock for future grafting at the Double L Vineyard.|
|2002||SLH Pinot Noir is now labeled Twelve Clones. The previously planted 4.5 acres (in 2001) of rootstock was grafted to Pinot Noir. An initial 2.4 acres of 1997 Pinot Noir plantings were removed so the vineyard can be replanted to better rootstock and Pinot Noir clones.|
|2003||Morgan Winery was awarded as San Francisco Chronicle’s “Winery of the Year.” Tierra Mar Syrah was awarded as one of the “Top 100 Wines of 2003” by Wine Enthusiast.|
||The 2002 Rosella’s Vineyard Chardonnay was awarded as one of San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top 100 Wines of The Year.”|
|2005||The Lee Family Farm label was unveiled with the production of Verdelho and Rose. Began producing Tondre Grapefield Pinot Noir. SLH Chardonnay receives the Highland designation. The 2002 Rosella’s Pinot Noir was awarded as one of Wine & Spirits “Top 13 Pinots of the Year.” Began producing Double L Vineyard Syrah. Gianni Abate was hired as winemaker.|
|2006||Began producing Rio Tinto (Portuguese red blend) which was introduced to Lee Family Farm label.|
|2007||In July, the Taste Morgan (visitor center/tasting room) opened in Crossroads Shopping Village in Carmel. Morgan Winery was awarded as Restaurant Wine’s “Winery of the Year.” At the Double L Vineyard, 2.3 acres Chardonnay were grafted to different Chardonnay clones and 2 new acres were planted; 1 acre Pinot Noir and 1 acre of Riesling.|
|2008||At the Double L Vineyard, 1.9 acres of Pinot Noir were grafted to different Pinot Noir clones and 1 acre of rootstock was planted to be later grafted. Stopped producing “Hat Trick” Double L Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.|
|2010||Began producing Double L Vineyard Riesling. The labeled Monterey Syrah was switched to SLH.|