The Donaldson Family have been seriously involved in viticulture and winemaking for over 40 years. Founder Ivan Donaldson planted one of Canterbury’s first vineyards in 1976 and went on to establish Pegasus Bay in 1986 with his wife Christine. It is a true family business, with all four of their sons now involved.


The vineyard is located within the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury, on free draining, north facing terraces. It benefits from being in the lee of the Teviotdale Range, giving maximum protection from the Pacific’s easterly breezes and thus creating a unique mesoclimate. The vines are over 35 years old, with a large proportion planted on their own roots. They are located on the “Glasnevin Gravels” where greywacke stones, silt and loam have been washed down from the mountains over the millennia. The soil is 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 terroir. The vineyard has warm days, but the nights are amongst the coolest in the Waipara Valley, drawing out the ripening period of the grapes, while still retaining good natural acidity.


Settled weather over flowering provided a healthy fruit set, which was then thinned back to desired levels. The ensuing summer was dry with very little rain, resulting in perfectly ripened small berries full of intense flavour and concentration. Thankfully, our harvest was able to proceed during the C-19 lockdown, and an unbroken autumn full of warm days meant the fruit was picked at its optimum ripeness.


Made using traditional Bordeaux methods, the grapes were picked in April and then left to ferment naturally. The wine was then gently pressed off and put into French oak barriques, where it was aged for 18 months. The following summer, when the weather warmed, it underwent a natural malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation.


On release it has a dense inky hue. Rising to greet the nose is a captivating plethora of fragrances, dark cherry, smoky tomato, and Jalapeño, giving way to savoury impressions of cinnamon, leather, and dried oregano. A whisp of wet river gravel completes the allure. The mouthfeel is concentrated and impressively structured, with assertive tannins balanced by seductive fruit weight and invigorating acidity. The season’s perfect conditions have delivered a statement wine that is succulent, complex, and robust, with a long spicy tail.

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Attractive cabernet franc character with cherry and redcurrant aromas and flavours. Dried flowers also. Medium round tannins give it tension and form. Some hazelnut and cedar flavours too. Will come together even more in the bottle”

- James Suckling Wine Reviews,, USA
“Sweetly ripe and beautifully fragrant with dark berry, rich floral, game, dried herb and toasted nut characters, it's beautifully rounded on the palate displaying succulent fruit flavours with supple texture and loads of polished tannins. Varietally expressive and wonderfully structured with a persistent engaging finish.”
- Sam Kim,, NZ


“It's delightfully fruited and enticingly complex on the nose showing Black Doris plum, toasted spice, hazelnut and dried herb notes, followed by a beautifully rounded palate offering succulent fruit flavours backed by silky texture and fine grainy tannins. Well structured with gorgeous complexity.”
- Sam Kim,, NZ
“It’s always a bold move to bottle a 100% Cabernet Franc, but this has certainly been the right decision for the Pegasus Bay team … delicious, dry, savoury with a core of fruit, firm tannins with a fine chalky texture, an abundance of acidity and overall harmonious story of wine ” 
- Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ
“ … fine-grained tannin and integrated acidity. Pretty and delicate yet structured and broad on the palate. This is a complete package of Cabernet Franc, possesses plush fruit, savoury complexity, floral and herbaceous details.”
- Candice Chow,, NZ
“ … A high-energy cabernet franc. Good food wine. Offers cellaring potential.
- Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, AUS & NZ
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Pegasus Bay

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