Josephine Perry was managing a winery in Spain and made a habit of waking up early to go surfing, snowboarding and "being generally Australian". Only to arrive home once the remainder of her workplace were rising from their siesta. Finding her always exhausted at night, her coworkers nicknamed her Lazy Bones, Sleepy Head or in Spanish Dormilona.
Josephine came back home to Margaret River after having her first child and started her winemaking consultancy company Perryscope and her winery Dormilona. Despite early instalment difficulties: being warned against using a skull and cross bones in her marketing, and enduring having her business referred to as ‘Jo’s hobby’, Dormilona wines now stand amongst the most highly lauded in Margaret River. They earned Josephine an award as the Young Gun of Wine for 2016, and have helped put West Australian natural wines on the map.
Jo was thoroughly engaging, and clever and informal enough to elicit a lot of laughter from the crowd. She called her house wines “Light, fruity, in and out wines to just smash every day”. She also credits the beginning of her winemaking journey to her Grandfather, a brewer at Swan Brewery, asking her to write down what she wanted out of life, and discerning that winemaker was the position which best suited her desires for freedom, travel and spontaneity.
Jo’s grandfather hit the nail on the head, and after an encouraging start fermenting a successful and swiftly confiscated apricot wine as a high school science project, She began her wine journey.
Josephine studied by correspondence, sitting exams in Paris, Milan, Sicily and San Francisco. Her studies followed by a long international tenure which included California, New Zealand, Germany, France and then seven years managing wineries in the Canary Islands before her return home to Western Australia.
We were just amazed by the wines we tasted from Dormilona, they were bold but refined, clever, easy, and just funky enough for us to find them really exciting.
We began with the Rosato Rose, bottled only a month ago. The tempranillo rose made with hand picked whole bunches was not intended to be ongoing, but production has continued upon her husband's insistence. “I make it in magnums because he just knocks it back,” said Josephine. We’re on side with Josephine’s husband, it is indeed delicious.
We moved onto the Blanco and Tinto, Dormilona’s low alcohol, easy drinking house wines. The wines certainly punched above their weight. In the Blanco we tasted a melony brightness which was exciting and moreish. In the Tinto we found a warmth like a throw rug. In both we tasted a bright acidic tickle at the start followed by a pleasant ashiness.
We moved onto her Chardonnay and to Josephine, the love of her life: "Chardonnay is something you can build or something you can let it do its thing.” Said Josephine, who rather than constructing this wine, has tried to capture the fruit and "just let it shine." We loved the Chardonnay which was crisp and beautiful.
We finished the official wines for this Grape To Glass with the Cabernet Sauvignon. We’d had a bit of wine at this point— being a Chardonnay drinker occasionally means the responsibility of finishing your friends’ glasses— and after drinking the Cabarnet Sauvignon, we loved it so much that we stopped taking notes, assuming that we would vividly remember the taste by the time of writing this article,. We didn’t. But we do recall loving this wine, which was not a major deviation from a quintessential Margaret River cabernet, but was as beautiful and delicious as the best we've had.
In addition to her five wines, Josephine brought her ‘Clayface’ wines, a magnum each of the Chardonnay and Cabernet, this time aged in amphorae. Amphorae are clay pots which are buried in the ground. Clay breathes in a way similar to an oak barrel but doesn't impart oak flavours on the wine. Josephine “truly respects it,” and her process involves using organic fruit with no additions. Tasting the Clayface manifestations of wines we had tried previously made for a fascinating comparison, and we fell in love immediately with these beautiful wines made in an old world style.
Grape To Glass
Hunkered down in the converted cellar event space of Young George, the dim lights and jovial atmosphere made this Grape to Glass event feel timeless and whimsical. Jo, Josh from Neighbourhood Events roamed around filling glasses as the lovely Young George staff offered bites to eat, making the small, friendly space feel warm and wonderful.
Next in Neighbourhood Event Co.'s Grape To Glass series is Walsh & Sons at Gordon St Garage on August 24th followed by Ministry of Clouts at Helvetica on August 31st
See the rest of our coverage of Grape To Glass.