Our Regions & Vineyards

“I believe great wine is made on the vine.  Our approach to winemaking respects and capitalises on Australia’s best cool-climate wine regions, resulting in wines with character and balance that are a pleasure to drink.”

We believe that great wines have character and balance, and that they are grown on the vine.

Sam Coverdale established Even Keel in 2006 with a vision to create drinkable, elegant wines that surprise and celebrate the individual strengths of Australia’s wine regions. Since 2009, he has specialised in premium, single-vineyard wines from the Mornington Peninsula, under the Polperro label. With a focus towards increased vineyard health using a mix of organic and biodynamic principles. 

sam coverdale

Landaviddy Lane Vineyard

Our Landaviddy Lane vineyard is located on Tucks Road in Shoreham. Our Pinot Noir MV6 Clone vines were first planted here in 1992, and reside on a gentle southwest facing slope with the vine rows running in a north, northeast direction. The vineyard is situated 160m above sea level, and is sheltered by a valley that is moderated by the cooling Bass Strait sea breeze, allowing for gradual ripening.

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Mornington Peninsula

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.

Mill Hill Vineyard

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 clones of these are as follows:

  • Pinot Gris D1V7 Clone, 0.33ha planted 1994
  • Chardonnay I10V5 Clone, 1.8ha planted 1994
  • Pinot Noir MV6 Clone, 1.0ha planted 1994
  • 115 Clone on 101/14 rootstocks 0.33 ha planted 2009
  • Q120a Clone on 101/14 rootstocks 0.1ha planted 2009
  • Q320a Clone on 101/14 rootstocks 0.1ha planted 2009

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Tumbarumba

Situated in the Snowy Mountains, Tumbarumba is located on the part of the Australian Alps featuring Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak, with vineyards at altitudes ranging from 300 to 800 metres.

The region's ability to produce table wine depends on seasonal conditions and site altitude. The margin for error is low, demanding first-class management of vineyards, but when all goes well exceptional wines, particularly chardonnay, result.

The first vines were established at Tumbarumba in 1982, by Ian Cowell, and a year later, by Frank Minutello, at Tooma in the Maragle Valley, eighteen kilometres southeast from Tumbarumba. Testament to the cool climate of this region, the majority of vineyards produce pinot noir and chardonnay; these two varieties account for 75 percent of the total plantings.

The region is characterised by typical high mountain soils, comprised of decomposed granite and basalt. North and northeast-facing vineyards are preferred, along with a slope sufficiently steep to promote good air drainage and minimise the risk of frost.

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Canberra District

The Canberra District wine region is largely situated in a triangle between Canberra, Yass and Bungendore. The region has a unique and varied landscape, with undulating hills and distant views of the Snowy Mountains providing a stunning backdrop to many vineyards.

The complex climate and low average annual rainfall meant that the first vines were planted here in just 1971, by the pioneer of the region, Dr Edgar Riek. Despite having the most strongly continental climate in Australia, this region is building an enviable reputation for shiraz and viognier.

Slope, aspect and air drainage are all important facets of successful winegrowing in the region, which faces the constant threat and frequent occurrence of spring frosts, recurring droughts in spring and summer, a high diurnal temperature range (cold nights and hot summer days), and a generally cool harvest season. The soil here is typically brownish and features layers of shallow clay. The sub-soils are not particularly water-retentive, meaning irrigation is a must.

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Orange Region

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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