Pegasus Bay was established by the Donaldson family who were pioneers of the Canterbury wine industry. Professor Ivan Donaldson, a consultant neurologist, planted one of the region’s first vineyard in the mid 1970’s. Ivan quickly saw the huge potential for grape growing in the region and in 1985 established what is now Pegasus Bay’s home vineyard in the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury along with his wife Christine and their four sons.
Three of their four sons have since joined the business. Matthew, their eldest son is wine making. Their youngest son Paul is General Manager while another son Edward is Marketing Manager and along with his wife Belinda runs the highly acclaimed winery restaurant which has been awarded NZ’s top winery restaurant for 5 consecutive years in the Cuisine Magazine NZ restaurant of the year awards, and has been awarded a coveted Chefs Hat in 2015.
The estate’s primary focus is Pinot Noir and Riesling. The home vineyard was planted on the north facing terraces of the Waipara Valley on free draining river gravels. The site is ultra low yielding and produces fruit of rare concentration. Structure and texture however are hallmarks of the estate’s highly individual wines. The home vineyard is now 30 years old where the fruit is exclusively sourced.
Recent accolades include receiving a 5 star rating by Robert Parker where he named Pegasus Bay one of New Zealand’s top 5 estates, rated by Matthew Dukes as one of the worlds most iconic 100 wines estates, named Canterbury’s top producer by Michael Cooper.
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A few other New Zealand areas include the region of Auckland, high up on the North Island, Nelson, sitting to the west of Marlborough, and Canterbury, just under Waipara on the South Island. Most wines in New Zealand will come from a designated area and say so on the label.
Auckland was one of the first wine growing regions of the country, but now produces very little of New Zealand's wine. It's pretty wet up there so vineyards are planted in the driest spots possible – reds are most popular here. Nelson is the only region along the west coast of the country, producing Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Canterbury's chilly climate is best suited for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The country of New Zealand is about 1000 miles from the coast of Australia. It consists of two long islands, end to end, that are approximately the same length as California. Most of the country's climate is maritime due to the abundant coastline. The northern island is warmer and wetter, while the southern island is cooler and dryer. The most popular grapes of New Zealand are Sauvignon Blanc (made most famous by the bright, crisp wines coming out of Marlborough), Chardonnay and the ever-growing Pinot Noir.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.