Stories and Latest Releases

Cellar Door & Mini Deli

Most of you will know we launched our new mini deli food offering at the end of last year, a redesigned concept with a fresh mantra in mind: minimum fuss, maximum lush.

Our Mini Deli has a thoughtfully assembled selection of locally made deli produce ready to tantalise your taste buds. We also have some hot options available, Lyttelton based Hope River Pies and fresh handmade pasta and sauces by artisan Italian pasta makers Feed The Soul, of Prebbleton.

If you’re looking for a cosy, intimate countryside escape over the colder months, why not stop by for a wine tasting, then relax by our roaring fire with a glass and curate your own platter. Upstairs we have created some new zones for lounging, designed to let you to kick back in utmost comfort, while enjoying panoramic views across the gardens.

In need of a pressie? We’ve got you covered.

Select from a range of our deli products and we’ll gift wrap these on your behalf, or purchase a gift voucher for your friends and family to enjoy. We’re also developing a small retail section to showcase some high quality and unique NZ crafted items, so keep an eye out!

Pegasus Bay Cellar Door and Mini Deli are open 3 days a week
Friday to Sunday over winter.
Cellar Door hours 10am - 5pm
Mini Deli hours 11am - 4.30pm

No bookings, for full list of produce visit

Navigating harvest in a COVID world

Harvest 2022 has certainly not been without its challenges! As is the case every year, we rely heavily on experienced and dedicated cellar interns and wine makers, who diligently process the fruit as it arrives to the winery, often at all hours. It’s physical and tiring work but rewarding to see the finished product take shape. With the borders closed however, there has been a severe shortage of suitably qualified people, and like a lot of wineries we watched vintage approaching with a certain amount of trepidation.

Fortunately, Immigration NZ came through at the last minute and granted exemption visas for a small number of critical workers and we were able to jet in some reinforcements to save the day. With COVID numbers peaking just as picking commenced, there was still a fear that our newly fortified workforce would end up having to isolate, but thankfully we managed to shimmy through harvest with only a small amount of disruption. We heard stories of other wineries that had their entire vintage team’s decimated, so feel extremely lucky the COVID gods took mercy on us!

End of harvest relief.

Façade facelift

New look for the winery.

Anyone that has come to visit lately will have no doubt noticed the winery’s snazzy new paint job. After many years of rocking the terracotta, we decided it was time for a refresh and opted for a pure, natural tone. We love the revitalised look and feel of the place and can’t wait to show it off to you all. Don’t worry though, while our beloved building may have undergone a transformation, we’ll be waiting to give you the same hearty Pegasus Bay welcome.

Updated cellaring potential for Pegasus Bay Wines 

We make Pegasus Bay wines in a style which allows them to evolve in the bottle. We deliberately hold them back until we feel they are ready to drink, but that doesn’t mean they won’t improve further with careful cellaring. We regularly get approached by customers who have held onto some of our earlier vintages and are surprised to hear there may still be life in them.

To help you decide when’s the right time to imbibe, we’ve summarised our recommendations in the following chart which we hope you find useful.

Cellar Potential refers to the maximum additional time a wine might benefit from being aged, however most should be drinking excellently right now. A red grading does not mean the wine is past its prime, but that it will no longer benefit from further aging.

We have only shown data back to 2009 due to limited space, if you have any specific queries for older wines please get in touch. In general, we have shown these as Drink Now, except for the Bordeaux reds and sweet wines, which have potential to be aged further.

Bear in mind that wines bottled prior to 2002 were produced under cork, and this may result in significant bottle variation. Also note this chart is for 750mls unless indicated. Larger bottles may age for longer than indicated here.

Lay me down

Pegasus Bay wines are made to put away, which is why we tend to release them later than most wineries. In some cases, they lie patiently for 10 years until they are perfectly matured. We’re particularly excited about the 2012 aged release Pinot Noir and Riesling, which hail from our coolest summer in almost 40 years of growing grapes at Pegasus Bay.

Mother Nature came to the party however, as it was followed by a long lingering autumn, allowing us to hang the grapes out until later in the season, achieving a beautiful spectrum of ripe varietal flavours. Naturally reduced crop levels have also contributed to good fruit concentration and body. In fact, we felt this year’s Pinot was so outstanding that it was worthy of making a reserve Prima Donna. So, if you’re interested in the opportunity to savour some of our signature wines that showcase the added complexities of bottle age, here is your chance. These aged wines usually sell out quickly, so act now or risk pariahdom! See wines below.

The Prescription Pad

A friend of mine has a fetish for wine decanters and has quite a collection. I suspect that most of you don’t own one and, if you do, you seldom use it to decant wine. That is not surprising, given that most wines are consumed shortly after purchase and the most common reason for decanting is to remove sentiment that forms as the wine ages. One fascination with wine, which tends not to occur with other drinks, is that it changes with time. When first bottled, the varietal fruit aromas and flavours usually predominate, but over the years these lessen and an enticing array of secondary ‘bottle development’ nuances, often savoury, appear. In addition, young wines that seem unbalanced, with obtrusive harshness, acidity or ‘oakiness’, can come into balance with time in the bottle. This particularly applies to bigger structured, mouth-filling wines of high quality. The majority of wines on the market aren’t worth cellaring so it’s best to enjoy them young.

Wine sediment is largely a red wine issue and, if it occurs in a white, it’s likely to be due to a wine fault or a sloppy wine maker. The one exception is ‘wine diamonds’, which can occur quite early in a wine’s life. White wines tend to have higher acid levels than red wines and most of it is in the form of tartaric acid. Occasionally, this naturally occurring substance combines with the grape’s potassium to form potassium bitartrate in the wine. Being less soluble than tartaric acid, this precipitates out of solution and forms harmless little white crystals on the bottom of the bottle. “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” says the song, but wine ‘diamonds’ aren’t regarded with equivalent enthusiasm and are often mistaken for glass. I’ve known wine to be rejected and the contents of the bottle tipped out because of them. It’s a waste because they are perfectly harmless and don’t taint the wine in any way. In fact, they are a sign of good natural acidity and testify the wine has not been overworked by heavy-handed acid reduction in the winery. You can decant the bottle if their sight offends you, but, really, it’s not necessary.

The sediment that forms in red wines is largely caused by tannins and the colouring pigments (anthocyanins) from the grapes. The tannins come principally from the grape skins and seeds and give red wine a firm, drying taste. With time, these naturally occurring molecules stick together and coalesce into bigger forms, sinking to the bottom of the bottom as sediment, taking some anthocyanins with them. Thus, as a red wine ages and develops the ‘bottle development’ aromas and flavours mentioned above, it also becomes more mellow in the mouth and changes colour, with its youthful purple giving way to a lighter brick-ruby.

So, if you’ve gone to the trouble of cellaring a decent red and its older than 10 years I reckon it’s worth decanting. If you don’t have a decanter, just use a jug. Gently take the bottle out of your cellar. Open it carefully and with a bright light underneath, slowly pour the wine into the decanter watching down through the wine to the light underneath. Stop pouring when the deposit reaches the neck of the bottle. With practice you can get perfectly clear wine, leaving only a few drops behind in the sediment. Aerating the wine in this way also helps its flavours to come out.

If you are not a regular decanter yourself, get with it. You may even develop the fetish.


All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated


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. This vintage also contains a portion of Sauvignon that has been matured on skins for around 200 days, adding further complexity.

Excellent to Outstanding Citrus and smoke … power and depth of flavour with a super long finish.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times, NZ

94/100 Powerfully expressive and persistent on the palate … harmonious and flavoursome.
Sam Kim,


Made in an 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. 

19/20 Lemon grass, lime zest and ripe mandarins … one of New Zealand’s greatest white wines every year.
Joelle Thomson,

Full of youthful impact, rich and vibrant ... lasting honeyed finish.
Michael Cooper, The Listener Magazine, NZ

RIESLING 2012 - 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. 

19/20 Complex and intriguing … rich and harmonious with incredible length and complex development.
Candice Chow,

94/100 Demonstrates the benefits of cellaring … smooth-textured and deliciously drinkable wine.
Bob Campbell MW,


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

GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2021 - New Release 

Left on the vine until late in the season, the grapes developed some noble botrytis, resulting in a wine that is rich and unctuous, with intense varietal character. This new release is hot off the press, so we don’t yet have any reviews, however here are some of the cellar notes to whet your appetite!

Exotic and perfumed … Impressions of roses, honeysuckle, and wildflower cascade from the glass, flecked with pineapple, ginger, nutmeg and Turkish delight, along with a whisp of barrel flint.


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 wine is bursting with personality.

94/100   An explosive core of fruit and spice flavours … intense and aromatic.
Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ

  Highly perfumed, weighty and fleshy … concentrated with peach and spicy flavours ... delicious. 
Michael Cooper,

CHARDONNAY 2019 - New Release

750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
Hailing from a fantastic season of warm settled weather, this is a beaut! Made from ultra-low cropping Mendoza clone, this Chardonnay has power and intensity, yet is still fresh and vibrant. 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 One of the South Island’s most powerful, full-bodied, dry, and rewardingly complex Chardonnays.
Joelle Thomson,

94/100 Flint and stone aromas … a long flavourful finish … very intense.
James Suckling,, USA


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 15 months to create the most complex yet harmonious wine possible. We think this season
reflects the ‘pinosity’ of our terroir perfectly.

96/100 Gorgeously styed and seductively complex … concentrated palate offers outstanding power and drive.
Sam Kim,

93/100 Red cherry pervaded by spicy pepper … velvety texture with exquisite depth.
Anne Krebiehl MW, Falstaff Magazine, AT

PINOT NOIR 2012 - 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. A longer hang time due to the cooler season has added extra concentration and structure to this vintage.

18.5/20   A stunning wine from a cool year … Impressively full bodied, dark and smoky.
Joelle Thomson,

95/100 Clearly demonstrates the benefits of both bottle age and vine age … well worth the premium price.
Bob Campbell MW,

PINOT NOIR 2017 - New Release

Jeroboam 3 lt
95/100 Wonderfully fruited and gorgeously styled … mouth-filling and delectable.
Sam Kim,

 Mouth-filling sweet-fruited, savoury, and supple.
Michael Cooper,

MERLOT CABERNET 2019 - New Release

This was an ideal season in the vineyard for our Bordeaux reds. A long, settled summer and lingering autumn meant the fruit was picked at optimum ripeness and in excellent condition. Aged in oak for 18 months, the finished product is made up of predominately merlot, with the remainder comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and a small amount of Cabernet Franc.  

95/100 Seductively smooth textured … complex red with good cellaring potential … clearly from a top vintage.
Bob Campbell MW,, AUS

18.5+/20 Leather, cedar, violet, and spice … delicious, with elegance and poise on a well-structured palate.
Candice Chow,

MERLOT CABERNET 2018 -  New Release

Magnum 1.5 lt
17.5/20 Full bodied, juicy and age worthy.
Joelle Thomson,

93/100 Fleshy and juicy with a plush vibrant texture.
Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ.  


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.

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

Excellent  Citrus, green bean, bonfire smoke and lime ... textual lushness and suppleness. 
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times, NZ


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. 

94/100 Top Wine of the NZ Pinot Tasting A real statement of what whole bunch fermentation can bring to a wine … seductive and plush.
Stephen Bennett MW & Lynette Hudson,

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

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.  Picked during our first COVID-19 lockdown, we were blessed with an autumn full of perfect, warm, drawn out days.

19+/20  Lilies, beeswax, grapefruit zest and ginger spice ... a complex flavour bomb showing depth and intensity. 
Candice Chow,

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


Magnum 1.5 lt
95/100 Richly fruited and fragrant … elegantly opulent and delectable.
Sam Kim,


750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
In years that allow, the bunches are left on the vines until late in the season then hand-selected with around 50% noble botrytis, and 2020 was certainly one of these. This adds extra flavour nuances and gives a mouth filling lusciousness, similar to Auslese wines of Germany.

19+/20 Luscious fruit, honey and spice shine with vibrant acidity, complexity, and a moreish, long finish.
Candice Chow,

93/100 Full bodied and sweet, yet fresh, with sharp acidity and bright, zesty character.  Excellent balance.  
James Suckling Wine Reviews,, USA


750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
The conditions this season were perfect for Chardonnay, and our latest Virtuoso is a testament to this.  A selection of the best barrels coming from some of the oldest plantings in the vineyard.

98/100 Ripe apple, smoke, flint and stone … richness of a Montrachet … dense and layered, yet fresh and vivid.
James Suckling Wine Reviews,, USA

96/100 Maximum flavour and complexity … seriously delicious, age-worthy Chardonnay.
Bob Campbell MW,, AUS


750 ml and Jeroboam 3 lt
We only produce Prima Donna Pinot Noir in exceptional years. 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.  This season was a surprise package, not without challenges, but we feel the resulting wine was so outstanding it was worthy of reserve status.

97/100  Dark chocolate, earth, violets and sweet spices ... Balanced and layered with a long, precise finish. 
James Suckling Wine Reviews,, USA

94/100 Smooth and supple, yet lively, bright and invigorating, with a long mouthwatering finish. 
Joe Czerwinski,, USA

PRIMA DONNA 2012 - Aged Release

A cool summer followed by a lingering dry autumn resulted in a flavourful, concentrated wine with perfect structure. It’s been patiently bottle aging in our cellar, and now it’s ready to impress. We only have a small amount, so get in quick!

96/100 Appears to have aged wonderfully … an elegantly spicy wine with life ahead of it.
Bob Campbell MW,, AUS

95/100 A core charm of pinosity with a savoury seam and a mix of secondary fruit qualities …delicious on the palate.
Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ


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.

 Dangerously delicious dessert wine … toffee apple, candied citrus, dried mango and honeysuckle … outstanding.
Yvonne Lorkin, NZ

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


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.

Outstanding Richly textural palate … gorgeously long close creating a superb sense of balance.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times,

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
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 Wine Club.

 95/100 Instantly appealing … wonderfully flavoursome palate … weighty and textural with a lingering refreshing finish.
Sam Kim,

18.5+/20  Lychee and stone fruit, entwined with ginger and jasmine ... a poised and pure expression of fortified muscat. 
Candice Chan,

MAESTRO 2016 - SOLD OUT awaiting next release

The Truant from Medicine - Ivan M. Donaldson

How a young doctor established Pegasus Bay.  Ivan Donaldson's autobiography.
Proceeds to the NZ Brain Research Institute.


Download the Autumn / Winter 2022 → Newsletter

Pegasus Bay

Are you over 18?

To enter this website you must be of legal drinking age.

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