“If a wine critic was not passionate about any of Pegasus Bay’s wine they should seriously consider a change in career”
— NZ Wine Country

The Family

The Donaldson family have been seriously involved in wine since the early 1970’s and were pioneers of local grape growing and wine making.

Associate Professor and Consultant Neurologist, Ivan Donaldson is a wine writer and wine judge and has recently been awarded an Order of Merit for his contribution to Neurology. He also oversees viticulture and wine styles while his wife Christine directs most of her energy on maintaining the winery’s extensive grounds. She is also a lover of opera and the arts and has been heavily involved in the local Opera scene for many years. Christine has organised a number of concerts at the winery’s natural amphitheatre and a reserve range of wines have been dedicated to Christine’s passion for opera.

Their eldest son, Matthew is winemaker and graduated with an oenology degree and a postgraduate diploma in viticulture at Roseworthy College in Australia. He has worked many vintages in other parts of the world, with a particular focus on Burgundy. 2012 marked Matthew’s 20th vintage at Pegasus Bay.

Another son, Edward is Marketing Manager who spends much of his time trotting the globe and promoting his family’s wines to the more than 25 countries where Pegasus Bay is distributed, his wife Belinda directs the winery’s multi award winning restaurant. The youngest son Paul, who has an MBA, is the winery’s General Manager.

Pegasus Bay is an entirely family-owned and operated enterprise.

A Unique Vineyard

Within the Waipara Valley Pegasus Bay vineyard gets maximum protection from the Pacific’s easterly breezes by being tucked up under the lee of the Teviotdale Range. Heat summation during the day is promoted by smooth stones and gravels left behind by an ice age glacier. The soil is free draining and of low fertility, resulting in naturally reduced vine vigour. This produces low yields of optimally ripened, high quality, flavourful grapes, which fully express the qualities of this unique setting. An unusually large vineyard staff allows operations such as shoot thinning, crop thinning, bunch exposure and fruit selection to be carried out meticulously.

Special viticultural region

The Waipara Valley is in the South Island of New Zealand, 30 minutes drive north of Christchurch. To the east Waipara Valley is separated from the ocean (Pegasus Bay) by a range of hills which protect it from the cooling winds of the Pacific. To the west lie the Southern Alps (Main Divide), from whence the region’s hot nor’west winds derive. Its sheltered position, but proximity to the sea, give it warm days, cool nights and a dry autumn, resulting in a very prolonged ripening period. This promotes intense flavour development and optimal ripeness, while retaining good natural acidity.

Sustainable viticulture

Pegasus Bay is an accredited member of the NZWG sustainable viticulture programme and are firm believers of using natural methods to counteract pest and diseases rather than the application of unnecessary pesticides and herbicides. A deep respect for the land with a long term view towards vine and soil health typifies the Donaldson Family’s approach to grape growing. Pegasus Bay is a proud supporter of the Greening Waipara Valley project.

Wine-making philosophy

Our aim is to grow grapes of the highest quality, which fully express the features of the vineyard, and to handle these with the utmost respect.

Minimal intervention at all stages from vine to bottle typifies our approach. We believe in traditional sustainable viticultural management, low crop levels, minimal handling of fruit during processing and gentle pressing.

We allow wines to go through natural malolactic fermentation and clarification by settling. We aspire to capture the unique flavours of the vineyard in our wine.

Pegasus Bay wines are made with estate grown fruit from our Waipara Valley vineyard.

95/100 Points
Pegasus Bay Winery, awarded Robert Parker’s highest producer rating “Outstanding”
—Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide 7th edition, USA
“Pegasus Bay constitutes one of New Zealand’s best producers.”
—Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate, USA
“Pegasus Bay gets my vote for Waipara's top producer for a number of reasons; it's wines are often exceptionally good and are always made in adventurous, out of the main stream styles.”
—Bob Campbell, MW, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Australia
Pegasus Bay included in “100 Most Iconic Wine Estates” world-wide.
—Matthew Jukes, UK
“If a wine critic was not passionate about any of Pegasus Bay's wine they should seriously consider a change in career”
—NZ Wine Country
“Pegasus Bay is Canterbury's top winery”
—Michael Cooper’s Wine Atlas, New Zealand
“These wines deserved my time. When I returned to the UK, I frequently ended up in conversation with fellow wine writers about New Zealand wine and whenever their name cropped up, there was always consensus that this was one of the country’s most exciting producers”
—Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com

Pegasus Bay

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