Oysters and wine? When there was a mention of visiting Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed in Dunalley, there was no need to think twice.
It is no secret amongst family and friends, just how much I enjoy oysters, so our trip to Tasmania was pretty much one oyster experience after the other… there are no shortage of oyster options on Tassy menus. But the point of difference that Bangor has, is that they are oysters from the oyster lease of one of the owners, so they can tell you exactly where they come from by just pointing to a tiny island in the distance from the deck of the Bangor building.
Dunalley is a sweet little town on the way to Port Arthur. Tiny – pretty much see the water on one side or the other in the few seconds it takes to drive through town. We stayed at a lovely B&B – Casilda House B&B – on the way into town. It is a waterfront historic house, complete with black and grey bunny families that you could see hop around the front lawn in the morning *little Squeal*.
Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed is a short drive out of town, perched on the hillside looking back over Dunalley. It is the collaboration of two passionate families, the Dunbabin’s and the Gray’s, bringing to the table wine and oysters – definitely a match made in food and wine heaven.
Matt Dunbabin grew up in the Dunalley region, the fourth generation of a farming family begun by his grandfather in 1890. The farm, some 6,000 hectares, approximately 85% of which is still bush, grazes 6,000 sheep for meat and wool, as well as cattle for meat, and a further 20-30 hectares cultivating poppies for the medicinal industry.
I always find it quite hard to fathom the Tasmania/6,000 hectares bit… the day before I was speaking to someone and they were talking about a property down the road, which was 80,000 hectares… Tassy doesn’t feel expansive enough to have farms that big! Clearly, there is a great misconception of Tasmania’s vastness on my part! Yet everything feels so close.
Bangor’s vineyard was planted in 2010, the cooler climate lending itself well to pinot gris, pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, and through the collaboration of friends, and now business partners, Alice and Tom Gray, who own the oyster lease, Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed opened to the joy of locals and tourists in 2014.
Bangor Shed subscribes to the ‘keep it simple method’, so everything offered, is down to natural essentials highlighting the natural flavours of each ingredient. Most of the produce comes from the property, the wine, of course, beef and lamb, and the oysters from just ‘over there’. Everything else is sourced locally wherever possible as well. The scallops from Dunalley, mussels from Oxford, abalone from Swansea, and so it goes on.