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 vineyard is located within the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury, on free draining, north facing terraces carved out of New Zealand’s Southern Alps by an ice-age glacier. 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 soil is free draining and 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.


Average conditions over flowering resulted in a moderate fruit set. The subsequent warm summer then allowed the grapes to ripen beautifully. Naturally smaller berry size and loose open bunches helped accelerate ripening, allowing us to pick the fruit a little earlier this season than usual.


Malbec is a Bordeaux varietal, and therefore we have used traditional winemaking methods from this region. After being picked in mid April, the grapes began fermentation naturally in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly drained and sprayed back over the cap of floating grape skins (rather than plunging), to ensure a perfect tannin balance was extracted from the fruit. The wine was then gently pressed off and put into French oak barriques (30% new). The following summer, when the weather warmed, it underwent a natural malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. After maturing in oak for 18 months, the wine was then racked several times allowing it to clarify naturally, prior to bottling.


The colour is deep ruby in colour. On the nose there are aromas of black plums, cherries, cranberries and boysenberries. There are also hints of violet and other floral notes, along with vanilla pod and roast coffee beans. The palate is mouth filling, with generous body and ripe tannins that give the wine structure and draw out its finish.

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