Over the last six years, Josephine Perry’s small scale Margaret River wine label, Dormilona has quietly emerged as a key producer to watch nation-wide. A one-woman business, Jo’s Dormilona is intensely personal, quiet spoken and producing wines of absolute elegance and class.
Perry’s journey itself has been intense and personal and by the inception of Dormilona her individuality and trajectory were well established. When at a loss for what to be when she grew up, her grandfather suggested she should make wine. Her first job at vintage was as a 14yo helping out at Cape Mentelle. After countless Margaret River vintages as an adult, ten vintages in France, several in America, New Zealand and elsewhere in Australia, and seven years running two wineries in Spain’s Galicia - and a third in the Canary Islands Jo returned home to establish Dormilona.
Dormilona is a Spanish nickname for ‘lazy bones’ - Jo’s nickname in Spain for struggling to stay up by the traditional late Spanish dinners after chasing surf breaks early in the morning. It’s a nice name to bring to her laissez faire attitude in the winery. Her wines are produced naturally, with a philosophy that the nature of each season’s fruit will already determine a direction the wine wants to take. Jo in entirely sensorily engaged - relying on sight, taste, touch & smell to steer the wines in the winery. The fruit is always organic or biodynamic. The ferments are all natural with no adjustments, fining or filtration. Élevage is in tank, clay or barrel. Minimal sulphur is added at bottling.
Jo’s husband, Jim is a viticulturist and aside from farming their home block, is Jo’s eye’s for fruit selection across the sprawling region. While the Margaret River is very engaged in organic farming, the culture of making wine with minimal intervention just isn’t there, although thanks to Jo and a few other producers (notably SI Vintners) this is changing.
The wines of Dormilona speak immediately of Jo’s extensive experience making wine. The wines are bright, clean, intuitive, and definitively of Margaret River. They show place, time, thoughtfulness and nature.
The Chardonnay and Cabernet are very classically regionally and varietally expressive, though with a focus on fruit tension, natural texture and purity. The Lazy Bones range simply called Blanco, Pinku & Tinto are simple, fresh and eminently easy-going beverages. Chenin Blanc sees a particularly mineral tone & fruit skin lusciousness through Jo’s handling, and the very small batch wines under the Clayface label are raised entirely in terracotta amphorae - bringing another textural comment to regionally distinct wines.
My first conversation with Jo Perry occurred after drinking through her 2014 release (the third vintage for Dormilona). I was excited to find wines of extreme freshness, vibrance and life. This style of wine, this way of using natural winemaking to enhance freshness, quality and varietal and regional expression is integral to my own thinking about the role of organic farming and minimal intervention production. We are very pleased to be able to work with Jo Perry and present Dormilona to the Queensland market.
Delicious: #girlsonfire: The One Woman Show Leading a Wine Revolution:
Sydney Morning Herald: Dormilona winemaker Josephine Perry a sleeping giant in the natural wine world:
Financial Review: How Dormilona winemaker Josephine Perry makes award-winning natural wines: