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Terrific vineyards, surf beaches and a close proximity to Melbourne mean the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect home for Polperro by Even Keel, and Sam Coverdale and his family.

Having grown up surfing the beaches of northern New South Wales and South East Queensland, Sam started out as a vintage cellar hand at Tyrrell’s at just 18 years of age, before completing degrees in Business from the University of Queensland and Wine Science at Charles Sturt University.

Sam joined Hardy’s, working across several Australian wine regions, then in Spain, Italy and France learning from the likes of Jean-Marc Lafage. Through this technical grounding and experience, Sam developed a strong sense of the wine he loves to drink and make – wine that plays to the strengths of particular regions and is true to the climatic conditions of each vintage.

He established Polperro by Even Keel in 2006 with a view to creating drinkable, balanced and elegant wines that continue to interest beyond the first glass.

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Just an hour from central Melbourne, Even Keel’s home in the Mornington Peninsula offers a stunning combination of beaches, water sports and vineyards. Generally speaking, the landscape is open, with gently undulating hills, rather than forest or steep hillsides. There are rolling green pastures, white-painted fences and, occasionally, vineyards.

Polperro, the premium, single vineyard label from the home of Even Keel, is grown and carefully attended to by Sam Coverdale in the Mornington Peninsula, using a mix of organic and biodynamic principles.

The region is characterised by a range of different soil types including deep and fertile red volcanic soil, as well as sandier brown and yellow varieties. Although most wineries here are relatively small, the region’s many different sites, soil types and mesoclimates (the climatic conditions experienced by a vineyard site) produce an exotic array of wines.

The close proximity of both Port Phillip and Westernport Bay prevents the days becoming too warm and the nights from getting too cold. This, combined with the ideal elevation, soil variety and aspect of the Mornington Peninsula provides perfect conditions for growing amazing pinot noir.


Our Mill Hill vineyard is located on Arthurs Seat Road in Red Hill on a north-facing slope with vine rows running due north.

The vineyard lies 270m above sea level, the highest and one of the more exposed sites in the region. This ensures a long ripening period which creates high levels of natural acidity which persist through to the wine. There are three grape varieties planted on Mill Hill – chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot noir.

The Orange region is found in the rolling countryside between Cowra and Mudgee in central New South Wales, and is centred on the slopes of extinct volcano Mount Canobolas.

Overall, mild to warm midsummer temperatures, seldom rising above 32°C, are offset by cool to very cool nights during the growing season. The altitude and cool evenings make the higher parts of the region ideal for sauvignon blanc and the lower lying parts more suited to merlot, both producing outstanding table wines.

In a previous life, this charming regional centre had been an important orchard area producing apples, pears and cherries. An experimental vineyard was established at nearby Molong in the 1940s; however, vines have only been planted here commercially since 1980.

The undulating countryside is not only very attractive; it is also fundamental in determining the location of vineyards as the soils here vary widely depending on the nature of their parent rock. Soil varieties include deep red-brown clays derived from basalt, yellow-brown clays that features traces of volcanic ash, soils featuring patches of terra rossa and limestone, as well as red-brown clays interspersed with shale and gravel. The Orange region is characterised by distinct seasons that bring snow and frost in the winter, golden evenings in the spring and autumn, and bright sun in the summer, and is strongly influenced by, and largely dependent on, elevation.

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Even Keel’s small production of elegant and balanced wines relies on sourcing premium fruit. We have ensured supply by establishing long-term relationships with growers from individually selected vineyards in some of Australia’s best and most distinctive winegrowing regions.

For our premium label, Polperro, Sam Coverdale is involved in all aspects of winegrowing and winemaking, using a mix of traditional and modern practices that ensure minimal intervention and a sustainable approach. Fruit is sourced from single vineyards located within the Mornington Peninsula and selected for their aspects and micro-climates.

Our Even Keel label celebrates varieties that are best suited to particular regions outside the Mornington Peninsula. Once again, all stages of fruit development, such as pruning and canopy management, are overseen by Sam and Even Keel to retain the integrity of each vineyard and season, and nurture each wine’s personality.

At harvest time, the grapes undergo the first stage of processing (separating the grape skins and juice) at local wineries, utilising local experience and expertise. This ensures the grapes remain in peak condition, avoiding damage during transportation.


Completion at our home in the Mornington Peninsula

After the delicate transfer of the fruit to Even Keel’s home in the Mornington Peninsula, a combination of traditional and modern winemaking techniques, all carried out by hand, complete the process.

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Wine Moments

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 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  6 wines  from  Polperro . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Yalumba ‘The Caley’ 2012 / Yalumba’s new super-blend, from vines dating back as far as 1901. A mix of Coonawarra cabernet, Barossa cabernet and Barossa shiraz. One for the cellar. Finely balanced, tight and with length. There are dark fruits, hints of old leather, cloves, black olives and much more. Great intensity here, with real persistence. Abundant yet silky tannins. Not a foot out of place. An Aussie classic.

Score: 97/100

Best drinking: Any time over the next three decades.

4m 18d ago

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