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Pegasus Bay Winery
by
Terry Sullivan

Pegasus BaySummary: They are many examples of family run wineries; Pegasus Bay could well be a model for family involvement. The winery grounds offer beautiful landscaping and an excellent restaurant. Spend time strolling the grounds and viewing artifacts in the Cellar Door.

Family

The Donaldson family is passionate about wine. Ivan Donaldson is a wine writer and judge. He oversees the Pegasus Bay vineyards and the styles of wines produced. Christine, Ivan’s wife, maintains the winery’s beautiful grounds. Many wines have a musical theme. Christine is a lover of opera and the reserve wines have been dedicated to Christine’s operatic passion. Matthew is the oldest son and has a degree in oenology and postgraduate degree in viticulture. His wife, Lynnette also has a post-graduate degree in oenology and viticulture. Matthew and Lynnette are the winemakers. Son, Edward is the marketing manager and his wife, Belinda, supervises the Pegasus Bay Restaurant. With an MBA, Paul, the youngest son, is the general manager for Pegasus Bay.

Pegasus BayRestaurant

Although there is indoor seating, our late November weather was summer-like and all restaurant patrons ate outside. Tables were scattered around the grounds so there was plenty of privacy and wonderful landscaping. Our group had lunch before meeting two of the assistant winemakers. Lunch was presented family style. Breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar were the first course. There were three entrées and they were placed in the center so that everyone could help himself or herself. There were also three desserts. During and after lunch, there was time to amble through the grounds. Pegasus Bay created a biodiversity trail.

 

Pegasus BayBiodiversity Trail

The Biodiversity Trail begins where the formal gardens end. A large sign indicates where the trail begins. Close to the sign is The Donaldson Pou. This ornate carving has a sign that explains its importance. “Poupou are posts that represent ancestors, carved and placed on the land to acknowledge the link between tangata (people) and whenua (land). This pou represents the ancestor Ranginui (sky father, Papatuanuku (earth mother) and Tane Mahuta (god of the forest). Together Tane and his parents will stand guard over the native plants around and below the pou, to protect and nurture them and the bond between the Donaldson’s Ngai Tahu ancestors and their environment.”

Take time to walk the curving trail down a hill. A green sign every few feet provides information about the plants and includes the Scientific name, Plant family, Growth form, Traditional Maori uses and Nature’s services.

Pegasus BayWine Tasting

We tasted wines with assistant winemakers, Peter and John. The wine tasting was done in the barrel room adjacent to the large Cellar Door room. Barrels were stacked four, five or six high. Tasting in this room had an old-world ambiance. Pegasus Bay Winery produces about 45,000 cases of wine.
The straw colored 2008 Sauvignon Semillon was a blend of 80 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 20 percent Semillon. It offered a tropical fruit aroma and taste with hints of lime. The crisp finish was citrusy. The 2009 Bel Canto was a yellow color and made from Riesling grapes. The aroma had floral and grapefruit hints and a grapefruit taste. There was grapefruit on the finish. In contrast to the Bel Canto, the 2009 Riesling was done in a classic style and was totally different. The yellow color had mineral hints on the aroma and taste. The mineral finish yielded to citrus. Aria was a late harvest Riesling. The 2009 Aria was a dark yellow color and had honeysuckle on the aroma. The honey taste had citrus hints. Honeysuckle was also on the crisp, sweet finish.

The 2009 Pinot Noir was a ruby color with cherry and raspberry aromas. The taste offered cherries, raspberries and spices. The fruity finish yielded to spices especially cinnamon and cloves. The wine had mild tannins.

We tasted two stickies. When asked what stickies were, Peter responded, “Very sweet sugary wines.” Sugar can be quite sticky. The 2008 Encore 2 was a Riesling that had a yellow color. There was honeysuckle on the aroma and taste. The smooth wine had some crispness to the finish and a long honey aftertaste. The 2008 Finale was a Chardonnay with a gold color. The aroma offered hints of wildflowers. The taste was sweet with honeysuckle. There was honey on the crisp finish.

Pegasus BayThe Cellar Door

This was one of the larger cellar doors observed. In one corner an L-shaped tasting counter can accommodate several wine enthusiasts. Throughout the Cellar Door there are old winemaking artifacts such as a wood basket press, riddling rack and display case of barrel making and winemaking objects.

Plan to spend plenty of time when visiting Pegasus Bay Winery. Notice the wine bottle chandeliers, spend time in the Cellar Door looking at artifacts and walk the beautiful grounds.

Pegasus Bay
Stockgrove Road, Waipara
North Cantebury, New Zealand

 

 


 

 

                                      

 


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