New Look

Dear reader, by now if you have received this newsletter in hard copy, you will have noticed a few changes! At Pegasus Bay our wines are always made in exciting and expressive styles, so we thought it was about time the newsletter followed suit. The new pull apart zipped design eliminates the need for any staples or wrapping, so we’re pleased to say it’s now fully recyclable.

We also know that ordering preferences have changed considerably over the years and most of you purchase on-line or by phone, so the tear-off order form has been removed to free up space for other content. We’re excited to be moving with the times and hope you enjoy the new look and feel. If you have any feedback we’d love to hear from you, just email

Welcome to the Pegasus Bay Wine Club

Moving with the times it also seems like the right moment to dispense with the rather dated term ‘mail order customer’ and adopt a new moniker, the Pegasus Bay Wine Club.

Don’t worry there’s no new sign-up required, as a former mail order customer, you’re automatically now a member of the Wine Club. Many of you loyal readers have been with us a long time, but others are relatively new, so we thought it was a good opportunity to outline the benefits of being part of the Club:

  • Special Club rates for all our wines 
  • Free freight anywhere in NZ for orders of a dozen or more
  • Special offers of Museum wines*
  • Preferential invites to events*
  • Complimentary end of year Club tastings held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch*

*If we don’t have your email, please contact so we can let you know first about special offers and winery events.

Subscription service – show of hands please!

As part of the refresh, we’re also thinking about starting a subscription service for Club members that will deliver a selection of our new release wines direct to your door every 6 months.

Easy and simple. To help us decide whether to go ahead with this, we’d love your help with a quick survey. If this is of interest, please text YES to 021 848 030.

In the meantime, there are a number of mixed packs including new releases and library wines available for purchase on the website.

The Donaldson Family

The Prescription Pad

Pegasus Bay’s 2021 vintage was always going to be special, being our 30th. However, it’s story started much earlier. My wife, Chris, and I started making wine from grapes grown in our garden in Christchurch 53 years ago. As you might guess, things have changed a bit over the last half-century. Then, there were no vineyards south of Hawke’s Bay. Why? Because it was thought it was too cold to grow grapes commercially further south.

Fast forward to now – 85% of New Zealand wine comes from the South Island. Why? Because it is excellent for the cool climate wines for which NZ has become famous. The world is full of hot and warm growing wine regions but being on the viticultural climate edge is where the excitement lies. That’s where you find real tension between ripe flavours, rich mouth-feel and racy acidity and this occurs in a minority of the world’s wine regions.

In NZ, the trek south started in 1973, when Montana planted its first vineyard in Marlborough. A group of friends and I planted the first vineyard in Canterbury 3 years later, and I was the winemaker for this experimental plot. This convinced Chris and me to start Pegasus Bay. The first years were a steep learning curve, finding how to cope with weeds, frost, drought, hail, insects, rain at harvest, diseases of grapes and the like, all the while respecting the environment. Chris did most of the work while I plied my trade as a neurologist, to pay the mounting bills.

I vinted the 1991 crop in my Christchurch garage, modified and legally certified as a winery. The following year our eldest son, Matthew, returned from Australia with a newly minted winemaking/viticultural degree and lead the charge. He has since been joined by his brothers Edward (marketing), Paul (general manager) and Michael (Christchurch sales). Meanwhile, Chris and I still float about place, she, looking after our extensive gardens, and me, overseeing the vineyards. And why do we do it? For the same reason we started making wine all those years ago, because of a fascination for viticulture and winemaking and passion for fine wines. Unlike other alcoholic drinks, wine is not made from a recipe but speaks of its place, variety, winemaker and year.

And what does our 2021 vintage look like? Spring frosts and coolish flowering weather in 2020 resulted in reduced crop levels but the long Indian summer, which is our region’s signature, worked its magic. Our 30th vintage wines look exciting with excellent flavours, good concentration and plenty of exciting tension. But you will have to be patient; these are but babies and fine wine takes time. In the meantime, we have plenty of other beauties for you to enjoy.

We’re proud of what we have achieved as a family over the last 30 years, however success in business starts from the ground up, and none of this would have been possible without our loyal customers, so thank you all for the support.

It’s truffle time!

As the days get shorter and Waipara’s vineyards turn from green to gold, the valley is already preparing for its next showcase as NZ’s première truffle region. To celebrate, we’re holding our annual truffle day on Sunday 4th July and if we have your email you’ll know about it already.

Back with us as guest chef will be Cory Campbell who wowed the crowds at one of our ‘Collab Sessions’ lunches over summer. Starting with an optional truffle hunt followed by a degustation lunch at the winery, this is always a hugely popular affair. Tickets have now sold out. 

Too hot to handle

You will have seen in our last few publications some avant garde photographs by NZ artist Heather Straka.

Heather Straka ‘Another Dissection - Parlour Portrait 7’

We’re proud to have collaborated with her in a number of thought-provoking scenes exploring ideas of anarchy and rebellion, each using Pegasus Bay wine bottles as props. Here is another image from the series and a rather racy one at that. We recommended a glass of chilled Pegasus Bay if you’re feeling a little hot under the collar!

Aging gracefully

Our aged release program started back in 2006, when we decided to put aside a small amount of our key varieties, Riesling and Pinot Noir, and carefully cellar it until the 10th anniversary of harvest. We’ve continued this tradition every year since.

Our 2011’s have been patiently waiting their moment, and now it’s time for them to strut their stuff. 2011 was a splendid season with a long settled summer and lingering autumn, resulting in some stellar wines that include a Prima Donna.

Unless you’re one of the few disciplinarians who’ve held onto a bottle from its original release, this is a unique opportunity to experience the complexities of bottle age without the hefty price tag. These aged wines usually sell out quickly, so don’t delay.

Cheeky half anyone?

Vine Run 2021 was another raging success with over 700 entrants running or walking their way around the Pegasus Bay vineyards and surrounding land and then celebrating on the winery lawns afterwards with food, drink and music. We’re proud to have raised a further $25k for the NZ Brain Research Institute though our entry fees, which means we’ve donated almost $100k since the Vine Run started 4 years ago.

Our next event is set for Sunday 30th January 2022 and we’re finally able to announce the news you’ve all been waiting for ... the Vine Run Half Marathon! Whether you are a novice or seasoned athlete, this is a chance to chalk up one of running’s most iconic milestones, while experiencing some of the most spectacular landscape that North Canterbury has to offer. With plenty of training time ahead, now’s the time to set yourself a goal, and do it in style!

Current Vintages / Releases

All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated


We take our Riesling seriously and our Estate version has been awarded has been awarded super classic status by Michael Cooper in his book Classic Wines of New Zealand.  Made in the off-dry style, it is fermented at low temperatures to retain zesty aromas and flavours and then bottled with a little naturally dissolved CO2 to give a hint of spritzig and tangy freshness.

94/100 A very distinctive and attractive Riesling … restrained lusciousness with a lingering finish.
Bob Campbell MW,

94/100 Balanced, crisp, a lovely mouthfeel and lengthy finish.
Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ

PEGASUS BAY RIESLING 2011 - Special Aged Release

We’ve been carefully cellaring this wine on your behalf and now it’s show time! Aged Riesling develops some fascinating complexities with bottle age and here’s your chance to experience them.

One of this country’s top whites each year … full bodied, beautifully balanced and rich in flavour with a long finish. What’s not to like?
Joelle Thomson.

5 Stars Richly fragrant and thrillingly intense … excellent richness and harmony.
Michael Cooper,


1.5L Magnum
18/20 A true NZ classic, ravishingly complex … Intense perfume and delectable juiciness.
Stephen Wong MW,, NZ

94/100 Attractive complexity … very supple and succulent palate … superb texture.
Nick Stock,, USA


Left on the vine until llater in the season, the grapes developed some noble botrytis, resulting in a wine that is rich and unctous, with intense varietal character. 

18.5/20 Textural Gewürztraminer that shines with varietal character and barrel fermented complexities. 
Candice Chow,

96/100 Fabulously perfumed … creamy mouthfeel leading to a wonderfully long gratifying finish.
Sam Kim,


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. We believe this style is better suited to a wider range of cuisine as well as having greater cellaring potential.

5 Stars Mouth-filling … a gentle seasoning of oak complexity, and a fully dry long finish.
Michael Cooper,

94/100 Harmonious and complete with silky-soft texture … delicious, balanced and well made.
Tina Gellie, Decanter Magazine, UK

91/100 As quirky as Bruno Mars’ wardrobe choices, but then who needs another mainstream Sauvignon?
Rebecca Gibb MW,, USA


Magnum 1.5 lt
Made from ultra low cropping Mendoza clone, this 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. 

Pegasus Bay are producing some of NZ’s most exhilarating, Burgundy inspired white wines.
Neal Martin, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, USA

19/20 Creamy, dry, full bodied and savoury with an incredibly refreshing taste of ripe, citrusy grapefruit and a lingering finish.
Joelle Thomson,


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 and tank fermented to preserve varietal integrity, this wine is bursting with personality.

5 Stars  Highly perfumed, weighty and fleshy … concentrated with peach and spicy flavours ... delicious. Michael Cooper,
94/100 Intense and aromatic … a delicious wine that coats the palate leaving lasting flavours. Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ


750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
We use traditional Burgundian techniques, including natural primary and secondary fermentations. Over 40 individual batches from more than 10 different clones were fermented separately then aged in oak for 18 months to create the most complex yet harmonious wine possible. 

16.5+/20 A little floral with a subtle herbal note of whole bunch … savoury on the palate with a long spicy tail. Julia Harding,, UK 

5 Stars So exotic and saucy on the nose … finely tuned and minerally driven. I love it!
Yvonne Lorkin,, NZ

PEGASUS BAY PINOT NOIR 2011 - Special Aged Release

Our aged release Pinot Noir has been patiently maturing in our cellar for 10 years and we think that now is the perfect time for it to be savoured.

18.5/20 Stylishly expressed with fine grained tannins and a long, soft textured finish.
Candice Chow,

5 Stars 96/100 Wonderfully complex and engaging … finishing impressively long and satisfying. Sam Kim,


Jeroboam 3 lt
This wine has been held back as large bottles take longer to mature. A smaller crop in 2015 has given this wine extra concentration and depth.

96/100 Beautifully judged ripe tannins and effortless depth that singles this out as a consistently great NZ Pinot Noir. Nick Stock,, USA


This classical red Bordeaux blend is made up of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Franc. Aged in French Oak for 2 years, it is full bodied with both dark fruit and savoury notes.  

94/100 Remarkable red … luscious plum, cassis and leather … spicy oak flavours with a smattering of dried herbs. Bob Campbell MW,

5 Stars 93/100 Delightfully fruited and fragrant … beautifully rounded mouthfeel backed by polished tannins. Sam Kim,


Magnum 1.5 lt
This wine is made in the same way as the 2018 above, however with slightly varying proportions of approx. 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Outstanding. Dark fruits dance on the palate, filling every corner of the mouth … you just don’t want to put the glass down.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times, NZ

5 Stars  Dark, weighty and concentrated … depth and harmony.
Michael Cooper, The Listener Magazine, NZ


We only have a few rows of Cabernet Franc and it is normally used to blend with our Merlot Cabernet, however after the very hot summer of 2018 we decided for the first time in 30 years it deserved a place on its own. As it is not for general release, we don’t have any reviews but here are some of our cellar notes.

“An ethereal potpourri of bright red fruit, violet, mineral undertones and a whisper of morning dew. This is a delicate yet intricate wine, a lovers playfight with a velvet pillow”.


Vergence is all about looking beyond tradition and our MK1 white certainly pushes the boundaries. The core is barrel aged old vine Semillon, blended with Chardonnay and a touch of aromatics. As the various components reach optimal drinking at different times, we decided to make this a non-vintage wine to realise its full potential. This is a dry white with serious character.

19-/20 Lovely intensity and concentration … unctuous and textural supported by lacy acidity and a lingering finish.  
Candice Chow,

5 Stars 94/100 The palate is wonderfully weighted and richly expressed … finishing superbly long and delectable. Sam Kim,


Our MK 1 red is from the 2018 vintage and made with 100% whole bunch fermentation of Pinot Noir, meaning that all the bunch stems were retained during fermentation. This gives the wine more vibrant fruit character and adds a different structure and range of tannins. 

5 Stars  A real sense of lightness and elegance … deep and complex with refined tannins and a long finish. Michael Cooper,

93/100 A rich, textural wine offering an attractive contrast to Pegasus Bay’s regular Pinot Noir.
Bob Campbell MW,

Reserve Wines

All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated


This version is a very different style to our Estate Riesling, and only possible to make in seasons that are favourable to botrytis. The grapes have almost the same ripeness as those used for Aria, but their juice is fermented to dryness.

One of the best Rieslings to be had outside Europe.
Ronan Sayburn MS,, UK

95/100 It is a real thrill when you find a memorable Riesling, there aren’t many of them worldwide, but Pegasus Bay shows a genius that is rare.
Oz Clarke,


Magnum 1.5 lt
5 Stars 96/100 Preserved lemon and smoky botrytis overtones … powerful, concentrated and rewarding.
Huon Hooke,, AUS


In 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.

5 Stars Sweet but not super sweet, a hint of honey and notable depth and harmony.  It should be long lived, but already a lovely mouthful.
Michael Cooper,

96/100 Opulence as well as sophistication … gorgeously styled with a plush mouthfeel and creamy texture.
Sam Kim,


375 ml
Made in a similar way to Aria, however picked later so that all the bunches have fully developed botrytis. The lingering warm dry autumn of 2016 provided ideal conditions.

5 Stars 19+/20 concentrated core of ripe exotic tropical fruits … deliciously rich,
unctuous … lingering finish.
Raymond Chan,

96/100 Rich with pristine apricots and marmalade notes balanced by bright acid … Balance is superb and the finish lasts into next week. Wow!
Joe Czerwinski,, USA


375 ml
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.

5 Stars A wine with a real “wow” factor ... mouthfilling, with concentrated stonefruit and honey flavours … great richness and harmony.
Michael Cooper,


375 ml
This wine is made in the style of Muscat Beaumes de Venise. A small amount of neutral spirit is added to stop the fermentation and retain some of the late picked grape’s natural sugars. This release is a non-vintage wine, however as with our previous 2016, we have made only a tiny amount and it is solely available through our cellar door and the Wine Club.

5 Stars Weighty, with vibrant concentrated peachy flavours … gentle acidity and a sweet, oily richness.
Michael Cooper, Winestate Magazine, AUS


750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
We only produce Prima Donna Pinot Noir in exceptional years and 2016 was certainly one of these. It is a blend of the barrels we feel best reflect the vintage and our unique terroir. It mainly comes from our oldest, lowest cropping vines that are non-grafted.

An epic North Canterbury Pinot Noir. Pegasus Bay nails it again with this superb wine.
Phil Parker, Ponsonby News, NZ

18/20 Has an energy and tension about it which is beautiful … elegant yet powerful in that way Pinotphiles crave.
Stephen Wong MW,, NZ

PEGASUS BAY PRIMA DONNA 2011 - Special Aged Release

Our top Pinot Noir held back for 10 years and now ready to captivate you. Stocks are extremely limited, need we say more!

5 Stars 97/100 Totally seductive ... multi-layered palate delivers outstanding concentration backed by seamlessly pitched tannins.
Sam Kim,

96/100 Composed, powerful and svelte with terrific focus and a real sense
of freshness. A class act.
Nick Stock,, USA


Jeroboam 3 lt
This wine has been held back as large bottles take longer to mature. A smaller crop in 2015 has given this wine extra concentration and depth.

94/100 Seamlessly marries dark, earthy, savoury complexity with bright red fruit … round and supple in the mouth … velvety textured finish
Joe Czerwinski,, USA 


Maestro is a blend of the best barrels of the Bordeaux varietals and is the heavyweight in our red’s division. It is only produced in exceptional years, provided our Estate Merlot Cabernet is not compromised by doing so. This release is a bend of approximately 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Malbec.

19.5/20 Plush with richness and concentration … a brilliant NZ South Island blend that rivals top Bordeaux.
Candice Chow,

5 Stars Powerful and dense … one of the South Islands greatest Bordeaux style reds, should flourish for a decade.
Michael Cooper,

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Licence Holder:Donaldson Family Limited T/A:Pegasus Bay Winery.
Licence no:57/OFF/458/2022 Exp:16/3/2025