When and why did you start up Tynan Wines?
I started Tynan Wines in 2011 as my tree/sea change after 30 years in the mining game (Copper & Gold in PNG, Cobar and Port Kembla). I remember as a three-year-old climbing trees outside Tyrrell’s Pokolbin cellar door while my parents went into the dirt floor cellars for a taste. I joined a syndicate of metallurgists handpicking shiraz grapes in Lovedale in 2006 and making wine in a syndicate member’s shed. We called ourselves ‘Dirt Floor Wines’.
After a few years, I did the Kurri Kurri TAFE winemaking and viticulture course and started my brand, making wine and selling at farmers markets, on my website and through local liquor chains. Wine chemistry was not covered well at TAFE so I ended up doing the Master of Oenology and Viticulture degree at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. My life and business partner, Anthea Andonopoulos, and I started our artisan winery and cellar door in June 2020 in Salamander Bay- in the middle of COVID-19! Anyway, we’re still here and powering ahead. Since Covid restrictions have lifted, we have built on this visitor experience as witnessed by 100 x 5 star reviews, and over 250 wine club members. We have a great (and building) following from Port Stephens locals, and visitors from Sydney have been our main customers, and we are now seeing interstate and overseas visitors.
What wines do you make?
We make a range of wines including sparkling, whites, reds, sangrias (we invented these), fortified (aka port) and dessert wine. Our Sangria Tropicale, a white sangria, is our top seller; it has delicious lychee, lime and coconut flavours, and only 7% alcohol.
Have you won any awards?
We have been awarded 42 medals over the years at wine shows around Australia. It’s always an honour to receive this recognition.
What are your personal favourite tipples?
Anthea’s current favourite is our methode champenoise sparkling rose. Anthea claims to share when we take a bottle home, but that never happens! My current favourite is our new dry rose, made with Hunter Valley shiraz grapes and a mere 12 hours’ skin contact for delicious strawberry and raspberry flavours and a soft strawberry colour.
Apart from wine tasting, do you offer entertainment and food?
Yes, we do Paint n Sip, with local group Moet to Monet. We offer cheese plates with cellar door tastings, using Hunter Belle cheese. Music is an eclectic mix provided by Spotify as curated by us.
What other Port Stephens hospitality outlets do you recommend?
Our top six are The Poyers at Lemon Tree Passage for its modern and innovative French cuisine); Rick Stein’s at Bannisters (sashimi, Singapore blue swimmer crab); Little Beach Boat House for its seafood and service; Atmos Greek restaurant at Shoal Bay has a well-curated wine list including Greek wines); Authentic Thai Nelson Bay (crispy fried snapper, and they also have the good judgment to stock some of our wines!); and Wood Oven D’Albora Marina for great pizzas – and they also stock our wine! We also love the two fishmongers at Nelson Bay marina and we have discovered how to cook fish, which we do three nights a week – our favourites are marlin with a ginger garlic soy glaze; mahimahi; sashimi-grade tuna; red emperor with a coconut cream/ kaffir lime marinade; and salmon baked with Greek yoghurt and dukkah coating.
What do you love about the area and what do you do on days off?
I bodysurf at Birubi or One Mile Beach every day when the weather is suitable, and for eight months a year. Try doing that in Melbourne, where all my relatives live! Anthea walks along Birubi Beach while I swim. We love recommending restaurants and activities to our customers such as Tomaree Headland lookout, camel rides, dolphin cruises, the best places to see whales and sandboarding on the Stockton sand dunes. Days off – what are they lol? We share our rare non-winery time between family occasions (Central Coast, Bali and Melbourne) and Sydney sojourns, particularly Opera. We have 9 grand kids between us, so Anthea is in great demand for child minding.
Tynan Wines is at 3/141 George Road, Salamander Bay. Visit tynanwines.com.au