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Polperro releases 2016 vintage Pinot Noir at Red Hill, Mornington

Written by Aksel Ritenis

Polperro  releases 2016 vintage Pinot Noir at Red Hill, Mornington & welcomes  high calibre chefs to enrich  culinary offering on the Mornington Peninsula.



Polperro is nestled amongst the vines in the heart of the famous wine region, Red Hill, Victoria and the  Mornington Peninsula Region is located  on the southern tip of Victoria , surrounded by seas on three sides. Due to its maritime climate and varying altitudes “the wines are fresh, lively and pristine with plenty of character”. The region is renowned for Pinot Noir,Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.This Winery and  working rural property provides visitors with a unique food and wine experience, which respects the terroir . They  offer a “cracking” bistro, intimate cellar door with a well trained sommelier Erirc,..and a cosy place to stay in this cdelightful part of the world.

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

Having grown up surfing the beaches of northern New South Wales and South East Queensland, Sam Coverdale 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.

Known for his easy going personality Sam wanted to create a place for any wine drinker to enjoy a good glass of wine. In 2014 dream became reality when Sam opened a bistro, cellar door and vineyard accommodation to showcase the Polperro and Even Keel wine brands in the heart of Red Hill.

“Unpretentious, modern and charming the venue is now a favourite among Mornington Peninsula and Melbourne locals as well as the frequent Tourists visiting from nearby Asia or Europe.!”

Polperro is the  premium label, with an estate and single vineyard range, producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, iconic Mornington Peninsula varieties.


What began as a wine brand and long-life dream of owner/wine maker Sam Coverdale eventually came into full fruition in May 2014 when Polperro was established. Sam and his wife Emma were looking for the perfect location to create an outlet for the Polperro and Even Keel wines. With Sam attracted to the surf and the wine making opportunities on the Mornington Peninsula, he was set on establishing a business in the Red Hill area.

In 2013, the pair stumbled across a stunning 25 acre property surrounded by magnificent angophora trees and 6 acres of vines, planted in 1990, equipped with an existing restaurant and small accommodation retreat on-site, it was the perfect location for Sam and Emma to develop the business they had always dreamt about.

The name Polperro comes from a little village in Cornwall . Both Emmma and Sams  families have deep connections to this place and it is what we named our Single vineyard wine label back in 2009 , and subsequently what we called this place in 2014.

Never approaching a task by halves Sam and Emma approached the renowned design team, of Hecker Guthrie, Melbourne to create a memorable and unique space, which truly encompassed the natural surroundings and enriched the consumer’s experience.The original structure of the restaurant was left intact, with a “sleek new interior inserted within it”. The area was constructed to create a modern dining space, with an earthy and relaxed feel. Located within the same building, the cellar door was built from scratch and is now an intimate space, which holds approximately 11 people for tastings. The Villas were also renovated in February 2014 under the direction of Sam and Emma themselves, designer furnishings were added to modernise and freshen the rooms, further refurbishments .


All wines produced within the Polperro range are sourced  from vineyards with premium fruit grown on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, either personally owned or leased under full management. This ensures a level of control that leads to the highest possible quality.Polperro  manages 8 vineyards, 3 of which are used to create their  single vineyard wines.

Their  Mornington Peninsula single vineyard range is created from Landaviddy Lane (sub region Shoreham), Talland Hill vineyard (sub region Red Hill) and Mill Hill (sub region Red Hill) the highest altitude vineyard on the Peninsula.

The Mornington Peninsula Region is located  on the southern tip of mainland Australia, surrounded by seas on three sides. Due to its maritime climate and varying altitudes “the wines are fresh, lively and pristine with plenty of character”. The region is renowned for Pinot Noir,Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.

Viticulture & Vineyards

The  vineyards are managed without using herbicides or insecticides. The use of biological and good cultural practices is maximised to control disease. For the most part only organically permitted fungicides are used to control disease in the vineyard, however, on rare occasions, systemic fungicides are needed.

Talland Hill
Talland Hill vineyard is the warmest and sheltered of our three single vineyards, it is also the first of our single vineyard wines to pick each year. These vines produce bold, powerful Pinot Noir’s, with an intense fruit and strong tannin structure . The chardonnay from this site is intense and mineral and tends to be a little less expressive early on in comparison to the Mill Hill vineyards.

Mill Hill
The Mill Hill vineyard lies 270m above sea level, and is 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.

Landaviddy Lane
The vineyard is situated 160m above sea level, and sheltered by a valley that is moderated by the cooling Bass Strait sea breeze. This allows for gradual ripening, but with a south westerly aspect the vineyards receives plenty of afternoon sun as well which shows through to the finished wine.

“The owner and Winemaker Sam  Coverdale is involved in all aspects of wine growing and striving for  minimal intervention and sustainability. As a result the wines are acknowledged to be  restrained and elegant with a distinctive minerality. These wines are a true expression of the sites on which they are grown and exemplify Sam’s approach to wine.”



At Polperro and Even Keel, they  use a mix of traditional and modern practices in their  wine making and viticulture. They are guided by the following principles  yet not too rigorously, to ensure quality is never compromised.A fundamental principle is Minimal intervention  and Biodynamic growing of the fruit,…and the wine is  Organic and Handcrafted!

Sam’s basic philosophy as I discovered at the tasting I attended is that “Great wines are made on the vine, and when the variety, aspect and soil type are right, Australia’s wine regions deliver elegant, textured and fruit-driven wines that hold their own with the best in the world”

“In terms of wine making style Sam specializes  in pinot noir and chardonnay,and e produces wines in a style that is very much his own: idiosyncratic but no doubt reflective of the vineyard sites and terroir,..that he works with.



At the 2016 Launch tasting I  was impressed with the focussed minerality and crisp acidity and good length,.. that I encountered in the Chardonnay and reassured with the pinot noir’s  deceptively pale colour and y character-filled flavour profile; The chardonnays are so different to the “commercial crap” one encounters in Australian retailers and is low-alcohol and complex with malo-lactic fermentation used used to good effect. “


“These wines were obviously made from superb pristine and ripe fruit ,..the appearance of the wine swirling in the glass at once signalled to me that this was  a high quality Pinot  ,…whilst the bouquet might have been a little closed it  still reminded one  of forest berries (but no insipid confected sweet smells).  The wines on the palate were exquisite,…they reminded me of the French Burgundy style in some respects but the pinot fruit characteristics are more accentuated,…unlike many Burgundian Pinots where they have difficlty ripening the fruit,..I suspect the wine might develop some secondary flavours and perhaps even some savoury characteristics in due course ( I love the French farmyard smells, or even  other savoury characvteristics such as animal or farmyards smells or even cheese,..sacre bleu!”



Polperro owners Sam Coverdale and Emma Phillips were proud to present   Executive Chef Michael Demagistris (East Bar & Dining, Alinea, Chicago, and Noma, Copenhagen) and Head Chef Shane Burke (Barn & Co., Stokehouse, Circa) at the  Polperro Dinner and they now head up the Bistro team,” bringing with them a wealth of experience, unwavering enthusiasm and a wholehearted love for the local region.”


Combining their distinguished careers, passion and  vision, it was a no-brainer to hire the pair to elevate Polperro’s food offering. Michael and Shane will build upon the foundations of the kitchen, continuing to respect and highlight regional produce. The menu will continue to  feature fresh and seasonal flavours that complement the Polperro and Even Keel wines, while fostering the ethos of sharing and kinship.

The recruitment search for a chef took the Polperro team worldwide, however, there was strong desire to uncover talent on their home turf of the Mornington Peninsula.

Sam considered that “there was an added benefit of understanding the local produce and our seasons which is vital for Polperro’s future direction. We’re excited to provide Michael and Shane with the platform that will allow them to showcase their talent in the region.”

It was Michael’s passion for foraging and respect for regional produce that initially caught the eye of the Polperro team. While his culinary skills and knowledge are exceptional, Michael’s devotion to his craft and his food direction was well-matched to Polperro’s concept of delivering “a dining experience that’s built on the foundation of authenticity, flavour and seasonal produce.”



Polperro Bistro sits at the centre of the business and is based upon a collaborative partnership between wine maker and chef. Our seasonal menu incorporates harvests from our half-acre kitchen garden and nearby local suppliers, and is designed to best compliment our wines. The  approach is to offer a casual, yet refined approach to dining.

Alongside the Bistro the  tourism experience includes our cellar door, presenting a range of elegant and balanced wines produced under the Polperro and Even Keel labels, in addition to our luxury on- site villa accommodation, designed to complete the Polperro experience. Polperro is a place thathas been  created for visitors to relax and enjoy– to spend an afternoon, an evening or a short getaway. It is a food and wine experience that offers something that is difficult to define.

The original structure of the restaurant was left intact, with a “sleek new interior inserted within it”. The area was constructed to create a modern dining space, with an earthy and relaxed feel.

Polperro bistro was  designed to ensure that all 75 seats “within the venue enjoy and exceptional outlook” as the tourism/dining experience often centrally focuses upon the view. An additional 50 seats are also provided outside on the deck, as well as some casual seating on an expansive lawn space. Evening dining was also carefully considered within the design approach. In the evening the  olive trees lining the pathway to the bistro are lit up by sparkling fairy lights and huge spot- lights illuminate the grand angophora trees, ensuring that diners aren’t treated to a “black plane”, whilst dining.

Located within the same building, is the heart of the business, The cellar door, the space was  designed to “breakdown the barrier between the wine maker and customer”, the room features a central table and seating which creates a more relaxed tasting environment and generates more informal conversations.

The space features a large central marble table, seating only 11 people, creating a small and intimate space for tastings of the Polperro and Even Keel wines.


“THE  villas were designed to complete the Polperro tourism experience, providing couples with the ability to immerse themselves in food, wine and experience rural life at our stunning vineyard property.”

Polperro offers four beautifully styled, spacious studio apartments overlooking the vineyard. Designed as a couples retreat, the rooms provide a relaxing and luxurious getaway, only an hour from Melbourne.

Guests can use their villas as a base to explore the Polperro property and beyond as well as com- pletely relaxing with everything provided on site. The close proximity of the bistro and the in-room continental breakfast, means there is no need to leave the property for anything.


Since opening to trade in May 2014 Polperro has steadily gained a reputation for a commitment to providing great food, producing excellent wine and giving tourists and locals alike the ability to truly experience what the Mornington Peninsula is all about in a unique, relaxed environment.



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Aksel Ritenis

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