When Lola passed away recently, the Woodinville community lost a local celebrity, Two Vintners and Covington Cellars their unofficial mascot, and Morgan Lee, head winemaker, lost his first (and fuzziest) child.
Lola was a surprise gift to Morgan after moving to the Woodinville area. Lola’s unexpected, yet welcome, entrance into Morgan’s life was appropriate, given that Morgan’s entire career path up until that point was equally surprising.
It wasn’t until Morgan returned to school after having dropped out and traveled the world that he stumbled across a passion for the vine. Morgan explains, “I took a wine appreciation course… at Purdue that was taught by a gentleman named Dr. Vine - and that is not a joke… he taught this course that everybody wanted to take because you could drink in class.” While many students ended up failing that class after discovering that there is more to wine than pouring it down the gullet, Morgan thrived.
After graduation, Morgan spent time working harvest internships and driving around Washington, handing out resumes. “It’s fanciful, right?” Morgan observes of his aspirations at the time. “It’s like applying to be a chef but you’ve never worked in a kitchen.”
On one of his drives, Morgan happened upon Dave and Cindy Lawson of Covington Cellars as they were setting up their tasting room in Woodinville, and the rest is history. “We kind of took a chance on each other... I didn’t have a lot of experience; they didn’t have a lot of money to pay me.”
In four years, Morgan went from never having made wine to being Head Winemaker at Covington Cellars and directing Covington Cellars’ sister winery, Two Vintners.
Lola made her surprise entrance into Morgan’s life around the time of his unlikely debut as a winemaker. From that point forward, Morgan and Lola were inseparable.
Lola went to work with Morgan every day. She was by Morgan’s side through his first vintage and all of his wine release parties. Even when Morgan had to camp in the vineyard to check on all 700+ miles of his grapes, Lola was there, sleeping in the tent with him.
Given Lola’s dedication to her duties as a wine dog, the decision to name Two Vintners’ first vintage after her was obvious. The winery has produced Lola ever since that first 2007 vintage, with five vintages garnering 90+ points from Wine Enthusiast. “I’ve actually had a couple people say, ‘Oh, you’re probably going to stop making [Lola],’ and I’m like, ‘No, absolutely not.’"
It’s important for Morgan to have Lola’s legacy commemorated by his wine because, as he explains, “That will always persevere. And when we get another dog, that poor dog probably is not going to have its own wine [laughs].”