The Donaldson Family have been seriously involved in viticulture and winemaking for over 40 years. Founder Ivan Donaldson planted the first Canterbury vineyard 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 and two spouses involved, managing various aspects.


The vines are grown in stony, freely draining soil. Being in the most sheltered and warmest part of our vineyard they receive extra heat. Early in the summer we removed leaves from around the bunches in order to promote physiological ripening. Crop levels were kept modest in order to enhance the concentration in this wine.


A mild spring, a warm summer and early autumn produced beautifully ripe, healthy fruit. Late-season rain did not affect this variety.


As malbec is a Bordeaux varietal we used that region’s traditional methods to make this wine. After picking during May the grapes were fermented by their indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly drained from the tanks and sprayed back over the surface of the cap of floating grape skins to keep it moist and healthy. The wine was drained off skins and put into French oak barriques shortly after fermentation in order to prevent excessive extraction from this tannin rich variety. In the summer after harvest it underwent natural spontaneous malolactic or secondary fermentation. It was in these barriques for 18 months, during which time it underwent several rackings, enabling it to clarify naturally prior to bottling. 


On release the wine is a deep ruby colour. The aromas and flavours suggest purple plums, blackberries, cranberries and vanilla pod with a savoury hint of freshly roasted coffee beans and roasted game. It is generously structured, unashamedly mouth filling, broad shouldered and muscular, with a wide sweep of plush tannins and a spicy finish that draw out and supports the lingering flavours.

Download Tasting Notes


“Fragrant, dark, rich and supple, the very graceful 2017 vintage of this estate-grown Waipara red was matured for 18 months in French oak barriques (30% new). A notably refined example of Malbec, it is full-bodied, with dense, ripe blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours.”
- Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide, NZ
“This is impressively fruited and brooding, showing blackberry, cake spice, roasted nut and smoked game characters on the nose … It's equally satisfying on the palate, displaying excellent weight and fruit richness combined with generous texture and supple tannins, finishing wonderfully long and flavoursome.”
- Sam Kim – Wine Writer,, NZ

“Inky purple with dense, graphite and wet clay aromas providing a counterpoint to the concentrated, spiced coulis of blackberry, black plums, dark cherry and violets. … The palate is sleek and powerful; the same dense purple fruit/floral notes from the nose drive right through from start to finish, hiding impressively ripe, chocolatey tannins. Intense yet elegant, … The finish is dry, a bit dusty and inky. This wine is intriguing. The fruit and flavours come across vivid, graphic, punchy and palate-staining, yet the structure and restraint is more Bordeaux than Mendoza. This effortlessly ripe expression is even more impressive when you consider that it comes from a traditionally cooler-climate region like North Canterbury …”

- Stephen Wong MW

What a great bouquet - a mash-up of dark plum and black cherry, hot stone mineral, dark spices of oak with vanilla and clove then chocolate and a moment of dried herb. On the palate - warm, fruity, fleshy, weighty and generous … yum!”

- Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ
“…The nose is rich and welcoming with fragrances of black plums, blackberries, melded with violet florals, along with meaty, savoury notes … The acidity is vibrant and balanced with the richness of fruit and body; which carries a savouriness and supported by soft, natural high tannin, through to a smooth, lengthy finish. A soothing wintery wine with vibrance and structure.
- Candice Chow,, 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