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 30 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.


Cold weather during bud burst resulted in lower crop levels, hence no further fruit thinning was carried out. The subsequent warm dry summer served up perfectly ripened small berries full of intense flavour and concentration. Favourable conditions continued into autumn, allowing the grapes to be picked at their optimum ripeness.


Malbec is a Bordeaux varietal, and therefore we have used traditional winemaking methods from this region. After being picked in the first half of April, the grapes began fermentation naturally in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly pumped 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.


It has a dense inky hue upon release. Brooding yet seductive aromas march stealthily from the glass, dark fruit reminiscent of bramble and blackberry, followed by a surge of sweet tobacco, cacao, leather, and roast game, spliced with hints of black pepper, nutmeg, and cloves. The mouthfeel is muscular, dense, and savoury, with invigorating acidity and persistent tannins carving their way across a spice laden palate. Impressively concentrated, this wine showcases bounteous fruit weight balanced with a coiled tension that accelerates towards a powerful, lengthy finish. While ready to drink now, it will evolve harmoniously in the bottle for many years to come.

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“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