Winemaker Jo Marsh is quiet achiever who is passionate about her craft and Victoria’s Alpine Valleys wine region. In recent years she has firmly planted her feet in the district, building a new home in Porepunkah and launching Billy Button wines, a label firmly focused on alternative varietal wines using fruit sourced from a range of growers who share her interest in cool climate fruit.
In late 2014 Jo opened a cellar door and in the heart of Bright village. Within months the operation had won the hearts of the of locals, with many affectionately labelling the venue ‘their own’. Jo believes the key to success is the range of varietal wines offered. Marrying them with fine local and international cheeses provides a strong point of difference for locals who take provenance seriously.
Jo says the Billy Button Wines concept is to make easy to drink, accessible wines – nothing too funky or challenging for the consumer’s palate. While we feel the verduzzo might be the most complex white wine in her range, the amount being ordered suggests the clientele believe otherwise. And indeed we found that both the verduzzo and vermentino made extremely acceptable partners to the cheese platters. So Jo’s innovative cellar continue to educating guests who might in other venues have settled for the simplicity of a New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
After eight years as a winemaker at Seppelt in Western Victoria, working in large-scale production of traditional varietals, Jo made the move to smaller batch boutique products in 2012, working with Kel Boynton at Feathertop Wines. That change got Jo hooked on the Alpine Valley’s fragrant and unique cool climate alternative varietals.
‘In two months, I bought a block at Porepunkah, built a house, simply fell in love with the region’, says Jo. ‘The growers and producers here are all lovely people and deserve more recognition and with this I felt I wanted to contribute to the region’s growth and awareness.’
Billy Button Wines
2D Anderson Street, Bright, Victoria
Tel 0418 559 344