“If a wine critic was not passionate about any of Pegasus Bay’s wine they should seriously consider a change in career”
The Donaldson family have been immersed in the wine industry since the early 1970s and were pioneers of local grape growing and wine making. Associate Professor and Consultant Neurologist, Ivan Donaldson, first became interested in wine when his girlfriend at the time, Christine, gave him a book simply called - ‘Wine’.
Penned by English industry legend, Hugh Johnson, the book started Ivan on an exciting journey, that has never stopped. After travelling to explore the wine regions of Europe, Ivan returned home to plant one of the first vineyards of modern times in Canterbury… and to marry Christine, who has been an integral part of the Pegasus Bay story.
The first vineyard was a hobby with Ivan making wine in the garage at home on the weekends, in-between seeing patients at his private practice in the evening and after his shifts at the public hospital. He also started writing a wine column in the local paper (that he continued for over 20 years) and was a judge in numerous wine shows around the globe. In 2012 Ivan was awarded an Order of Merit for his contribution to Neurology.
By the mid 1980s Ivan and Chris had decided there was definitely a future for wine making in Canterbury. They went on to plant Pegasus Bay with the help of their four sons, who have all ended up working in key roles within the business. Ivan, now retired from medicine, continues to oversee viticulture while Chris’s ‘happy place’ is in the winery’s extensive grounds, now beautifully well-established thanks to her careful planting over the last 30 years.
Chris is also passionate about opera and the arts. She has embraced the local opera scene for many years, including singing in the chorus for a number of operatic productions. There has been many a concert held at the winery’s natural amphitheatre and a reserve range of wines have been dedicated to Chris’s love of opera.
Their eldest son, Matthew, is Winemaker and graduated with an oenology degree and a postgraduate diploma in viticulture from Roseworthy College, in Australia. He has worked numerous vintages in other parts of the world, with a particular focus on Burgundy, and in 2020 would have had his 28th vintage at Pegasus Bay. Matthew’s wife Di, assists with winery logistics and systems.
Another son, Edward (a trained chef) is Marketing Manager and spends much of his time trotting the globe to promote the wines to around 20 countries where Pegasus Bay is distributed. His wife Belinda, is the Manager of the winery’s multi-award winning restaurant.
Michael was the last son to join the business after his return from overseas, finding a natural fit as Local Sales Manager, while the youngest son Paul, who has an MBA, is the winery’s General Manager.
Pegasus Bay is proud to be entirely family-owned..