Stories and Latest Releases

Mini Deli & Cellar Door

Looking for a gourmet getaway this Winter? Why not call by the winery for a tasting then recline in front of our roaring fire with a platter of artisan nibbles.

Pegasus Bay Mini Deli

Thursday to Monday
10.30am - 4.30pm
No bookings. Max group size 10.
For full list of produce visit


Pegasus Bay Cellar Door

Thursday to Monday
10.00am - 5.00pm
Bookings advised. Max group size 10. 

Both closed Tuesday and Wednesday

Sav, but not as you know it

As any ardent Peg Bay fan will know, we’ve been blending Sauvignon Blanc and barrel fermented Semillon together in a white Bordeaux style since our very first vintage in 1991.

For some time however, we’ve been mooting the possibility of creating a straight Sauvignon Blanc. But not any Sauvignon, one that has flair and stands out from the crowd, made our own unique way, that still has the potential to age. So, we took some hand-picked whole bunches from our 2021 harvest and let them ferment naturally in stainless steel tanks, and then left the resulting wine to age on skins for 200 days.

This is a serious Sauvignon, layered and complex, with a North Canterbury twist, one that may well redefine the way you look at NZ Sav.

See wines below.

Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Blanc

PB Merch

No way! Did someone say Peg Bay merchandise? That’s right, we’ve collaborated with one of the South Island’s most iconic clothing brands to bring you a limited edition, Pegasus Bay branded Swanndri vest.

Oozing with panache, this casual yet elegant unisex garment is cross seasonable and ultra versatile, combining comfort, warmth, and durability.

With its classic oil skin outer, and chequered black and blue woollen inside, you can dress this baby up or down. Equally at home in the North Canterbury high country or your favourite inner-city haunt.

Pegasus Bay vest

Pass Go Collect $200!

We are thrilled to announce to those who haven’t heard that Pegasus Bay was recently chosen to be part of Ōtautahi’s new version of Monopoly.

We’re honoured to be rocking a red square, alongside local hospitality stalwarts Inati Restaurant and The George Hotel.

The tussle for control over this side of the board will surely be fierce, so we recommend keeping a bottle of our fine wine close at hand in case you need to lubricate the opposition!

Mr Monopoly with members of the Donaldson Family

Updated cellaring potential for Pegasus Bay Wines

Here at Pegasus Bay, we’re passionate about making age-worthy wines. We intentionally hold our wines back before release, to allow each new vintage to fully integrate in the bottle, but that doesn’t mean they won’t improve further with careful cellaring. Here are our latest recommendations.

Cellaring potential

If you’re looking wistfully at some of the older vintages mentioned, wishing you still had a bottle or two tucked away, don’t despair, there is still a chance to try wines at the height of their maturity through our aged release programme.

The 2014 Pinot Noir and Riesling are out now – see below.

Aged Releases 2014

Wedding Bells at the Bay

Finding true love hasn’t come easy for Mike Donaldson over the years, but his moment finally arrived in February when he married the vivacious and charming Nicky Vincent, much to the delight of family and friends.

Nicky recently switched to a career in wine from teaching, and as fate would have it, applied to work as a winery intern at Pegasus Bay during harvest 2022.

Despite boldly trying to keep matters above board, the gravitational forces of nature proved too strong, and the rest is history.

On a typically balmy North Canterbury afternoon, the happy couple tied the knot in front of the flower garden, with Mike’s brother Paul acting as celebrant.

Well done Mike, it took you 50 years to find the one, but apparently she was worth the wait!

Mike and Nicky

The Prescription Pad

The grape harvest of 2024 is over, and the future of the vintage is now in the winemakers’ hands. What will the wines be like? It’s too early to be definite but at Pegasus Bay we are excited. While the quantity is down due to cold weather in spring, the quality has the potential to be right up there.

Why? Because the warm dry summer and autumn enabled us to pick at optimal ripeness for each grape variety. So, what does optimal ripeness look like and how do we recognise it.

Green grapes are high in acid and low in sugar. As they ripen this situation reverses but it can go too far; pick too early the wine will be thin and sharp, pick too late it will be fat, blowsy and over alcoholic. Our winemakers closely follow the grape acid and sugar levels to help determine when to pick.

Tannins are overlooked by many but if you can get them right in the grape it makes the wine so much more satisfying. Tannins are naturally occurring chemical compounds found especially in red wines but also in whites. They help give structure and body in the mouth and produce a ‘dry’ finish.

Grape berry tannins are found in the skins and seeds while the pulp contains the sugar and acid. Skin tannins are softer and more velvety than those from the pips. As grapes ripen the tannins change. They darken the skin and make the pips turn from the green to brown.

A crunched green pip tastes coarse and bitter while a ‘ripe‘ brown one tastes ‘peppery’ and dry’. Tannins are extracted into red wines during fermentation and before pressing.

At Pegasus Bay we like ripe tannins and use pip maturity as a guide to optimal ripeness. In addition, we have been measuring the total tannin content of our pinot noir grapes.

Pinot noir is unique in having only 4 types of anthocyanins (the tannins which give red wine its colour) in its skin whereas other red grape varieties have many more. The stems of grape bunches also contain tannins and many winemakers, including us, have a proportion of whole bunches in their ferments to naturally increase the tannin content of their pinot noir wines. This is not needed or used with other red grape varieties. But grape stems, unless they are mature and lignified, can add undesirable greenish herbal characters (due to natural chemicals called methoxypyrazines).

So, in looking for ‘optimal ripeness’ we may consider the grapes’ sugars and acids and the maturity of its pips and stems. But there is something more important than all of these and you don’t need a fancy machine to measure it. Taste! The grapes should taste succulent, delicious and have ripe varietal characters.

For the last three years we have been working with Lincoln University and one of its PhD students to study the results of (1) increasing sunlight exposure by leaf removal around growing pinot noir bunches, (2) clonal selection and (3) whole bunch fermentation, to show how these factors can affect tannins and methoxypyrazines in wine, and our subsequent appreciation of it.

I am pleased to raise a glass of our splendid Pinot Noir and report that his efforts have not been in vain. Congratulations Dr Pradeep Wimalasiri. Your splendid work has increased our knowledge and is much appreciated. It’s been a pleasure to be your co-supervisor on this Callaghan Innovation funded project.



All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated

SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 - New Release

This latest addition to our portfolio is whole bunch fermented and then aged on skins for 200 days, giving the wine a dialled-up structure with increased phenolics that add complexity and focus.

95/100 Classy and considered … terrific textural presence …this is how you make Sauvignon Blanc people – Bravo!
Steve Leszczynski,, AUS

95/100 It’s a complex and sophisticated wine that’s in a class of its own.
Bob Campbell MW,, AUS


Made in the traditional style of a white Bordeaux using approx. 70% tank fermented Sauvignon Blanc and 30% barrel fermented Semillon, the latter adding richness, texture and length. 

19/20 This maverick take on a dry white Bordeaux blend has superb complexity,
aligned with freshness.
Joelle Thomson,

Concentrated with loads of personality ... savoury notes adding complexity.
Michael Cooper,, NZ

RIESLING 2023 - New Release

Off dry in style and fermented at low temperatures to retain zesty aromas and flavours. Bottled with a little naturally dissolved CO2 to give a hint of spritzig and tangy freshness. This wine has only just been released, so we do not yet have any reviews, but here are some snippets from the tasting note to get you in the mood:
"The palate is vibrant and energised, with layered citrus, racy acidity, and a hint of spritzig giving a zesty, lemon sherbet mouthfeel. Elegant and stylish with unobtrusive sweetness, the wine tapers into a steely, honeyed finish that leaves a lasting impression."

RIESLING 2014 'Aged Release'

Our latest aged releases have been waiting patiently and now its show time! Riesling has a great ability to age for many years in the bottle, developing some fascinating qualities along the way.

95/100 There’s a floral quality and seductive perfume of mineral and manuka … balanced, lengthy and resoundingly delicious.
Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ

An outstanding example of what happens to very good quality Riesling when it has spent 10 years evolving in a cool dark cellar … outrageously complex.
Joelle Thomson,


1.5L Magnum
19/20 This complex, heavy-weight Riesling is packed with flavours and concentration.
Candice Chow,

94/100 A taut, salivating and intense palate … touch of sweetness on the finish provides the perfect balance.
Stephen Bennett MW/Lynette Hudson,

MUSCAT 2019 - New Release

We have a tiny plot of muscat à petits grains, a variety that is used in Alsace and the Rhône Valley. Made in an off-dry style, this latest addition is wonderfully aromatic, full of perfume and spice. We don’t have any reviews for this wine just yet, so here are a few lines to woo you from the tasting note:

"The nose is exotic and intensely perfumed, a core of rose oil and lavender interwoven with threads of rock melon, mango, key lime pie, dried fig, vanilla and a whisp of nougat. Plush and silky textured, with a backbone of acidity and ripe phenolics to contrast the gentle off-dry mouthfeel."

CHARDONNAY 2020 - New Release

750ml and 1.5L Magnum
Made from ultra-low cropping Mendoza clone, this concentrated Chardonnay has power and intensity. Following traditional Burgundian techniques, the juice was fermented with natural yeasts in French puncheons and aged on lees for 12 months.

95/100 A powerfully expressed palate offering awesome weight and persistency … wonderfully textured and mouth filling.
Sam Kim, Wine Orbit,

A great, complex, layered South Island Chardonnay, one of NZ’s best.
Joelle Thomson,


750ml and 1.5L Magnum - New Release
Following traditional Burgundian techniques, wild ferment then aged in oak for 15 months. We think this latest edition showcases our terroir perfectly. Structured and concentrated, while retaining elegance and finesse.

This is one of North Canterbury’s greatest Pinot Noirs … very rich in body and flavour. A very graceful red.
Michael Cooper,, NZ

95/100 Youthful, powerful, enticing … a quality wine from start to finish.
Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ

PINOT NOIR 2014 'Aged Release'

The latest scholar to graduate with distinction from our aged release programme. If you’re interested in experiencing the complexities of bottle age, this one is not to be missed. Stocks are very limited.

97/100 So succulent and finely velvety in so many ways. Complex and thoughtful.
James Suckling Wine Reviews,, USA

95/100 Rich, dense and moderately complex wine that is beginning to show some good bottle development … a pleasure to taste.
Bob Campbell MW,, AUS


3L Jeroboam - New Release
18.5+/20 A rich, dark toned Pinot Noir packed with earth, savoury elements, and a silky, fragranced palate.
Candice Chow,

94/100 A divine mouth perfume clings to a persistent finish, calling you back for more.
Steve Leszczynski,, AUS


750ml and 1.5L Magnum - New Release
This hot and drawn-out season was perfect for ripening our Bordeaux reds. Aged in oak for 18 months, the finished product is made up of predominately Merlot, with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon, and a small amount of Cabernet Franc.

94/100 Core of fruit contrasted by polished tannins, medium + acidity and a lengthy, juicy finish. Lots to like about this wine.
Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ

94/100 Wonderfully flavoursome palate … bold yet stylish.
Sam Kim,

MALBEC 2021 - New Release

We only have a small patch of Malbec and its normally blended with our Merlot Cabernet but sometimes it deserves to be its own wine and this one demonstrates why. Stocks are very limited and it’s not available for general release, so we don’t have any reviews, but here’s a little teaser from the tasting note:

"The mouthfeel is muscular, dense, and savoury, with invigorating acidity and persistent tannins carving their way across a spice laden palate. Impressively concentrated, this wine showcases bounteous fruit weight balanced with a coiled tension that accelerates towards a powerful, lengthy finish."

VERGENCE WHITE Mark 3 - New Release

Vergence is our non-traditional label where we enjoy pushing the boundaries of conventional winemaking. As with our MK1 and MK2, the core of the White MK3 is barrel aged old vine semillon that gives body and palate weight, blended with a selection of aromatics. This time however, we’ve left out the Chardonnay and added more Gewürztraminer, accentuating its distinct varietal character of floral and spice. Once again this is a multi-vintage wine to realise its full potential.

92/100 Super aromatic … It's really good and more forthright and rambunctious than the MK2.
Erin Larkin,, USA

VERGENCE RED Mark 3 - New Release

Our MK3 Red takes another radical departure from tradition. Boldened by the surprise results of the MK2, we decided to trial blending Pinot Noir with a small portion of Malbec this time (approximately 5%). Clean and focused, with a bigger mouthfeel and tons of juicy fruit weight. Think Pinot Noir on steroids. This wine has only just been released, so we don’t have any reviews right now, but here are some choice words from the tasting note:

"The mouthfeel is plush yet focussed, with smooth, silky tannins on a velvety palate interplaying seamlessly with a slice of frisky acidity … displays elegance combined with depth and precision, perfect for those who enjoy their Pinot’s at the fuller and more structured end of the spectrum."

GEWÜRZTRAIMER 2021 - SOLD OUT awaiting next release

All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated


Only possible to make in seasons that are favourable to botrytis. The grapes have almost the same ripeness as those used for Aria, but fermented to dryness, resulting in a wine that is richly textured, yet still possessing focus and drive.

94/100 Dense and spicy … One of the best Rieslings in New Zealand.
James Suckling Wine Reviews,, USA

93+/100 Pristine bouquet, with its signature of honeysuckle … a wine that will age well and deliver exceptional value in years to come.
Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ


1.5L Magnum
NZ Top 50 Wines One of the best in the country … a complex, full rich style with a touch of marmalade and a long, long finish.
The Wine Merchant Magazine, UK

Erupts with orange zest, honeysuckle, layers of lime and quartzy minerality resulting in a dry, lipsmacking finish.
Yvonne Lorkin,, NZ


1.5L Magnum - New Release
In favourable years that allow, the bunches are left on the vines until late in the season then hand-selected with around 50% noble botrytis. This adds extra flavour nuances and gives a mouth filling lusciousness, similar to Auslese wines of Germany.

96/100 It’s so, so pretty, so complex and very long through the finish. A superb wine.
Erin Larkin,, USA

92/100 A gentle spritz and mouthwatering refreshment imbue the wine with a lovely, lively character.
Rebecca Gibb MW,, USA


Made in a similar way to Aria, however picked later so that all the bunches have fully developed botrytis. The autumn of 2017 proved favourable in this regard.

A wine of great depth, beauty and harmony. Abundant sweetness, good acid spine and an enduring finish.
Michael Cooper,, NZ

98/100 Impressive array of flavours, strength, and balance, leading to an incredibly moreish, pleasing finish.
Candice Chow,


Finale is a barrel fermented wine in the style of Sauternes and is only made in special years that are favourable to noble botrytis. As with Encore, we selected only the most beautifully botrytic bunches. The juice was then left to ferment naturally in French oak barriques and matured for 12 months.

95/100 Dried plums, lemon zest and honeysuckle, followed by beeswax, pie crust and gingerbread … wonderfully balanced, displaying great length and depth.
James Suckling Wine Reviews,, USA

95/100 This really is a delicious wine, exotic and complex … high acidity easily counterbalances the residual sweetness.
Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ

VIRTUOSO CHARDONNAY 2019 - SOLD OUT awaiting next release


750ml and 375ml
Only the second edition of this rare gem ever made. A selection of late picked Bordeaux reds was fermented, fortified, and then barrel aged for 18 months to produce a complex and full-bodied vintage port style wine. Only available to our wine club and through the cellar door and stocks are now extremely limited. It has not been sent for review, however here’s an excerpt from the tasting note to whet your appetite.

"The aroma is deep and concentrated, showcasing a medley of blackberry, doris plum and cassis, melded with fruit cake spice, dried fig, chocolate, and a hint of marzipan. In the mouth the feel is generous and weighty, enveloping the palate with a velvety, full-bodied texture."

PRIMA DONNA PINOT NOIR 2019 - SOLD OUT awaiting next release

MAESTRO MERLOT CABERNET MALBEC 2019 - SOLD OUT awaiting next release


This unisex, limited-edition vest will quickly become a go-to item in your wardrobe.
Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL


Pegasus Bay are proud to have been selected as the winery to represent
Canterbury in the Monopoly Ōtautahi Christchurch Edition board game.

Download the Autumn - Winter 2024 → Newsletter


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Licence Holder:Donaldson Family Limited T/A:Pegasus Bay Winery.
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