Notable vineyards in Waipara

Situated 40 minutes north of Christchurch. The wine region of Waipara is one of New Zealand's fastest growing wine regions. Home to over 80 wineries and covering an area of over 1,200 plantings, Waipara is certainly worth a visit! Strong family connections, deep respect for the land and simple winemaking priniciples are highlighted in the following vineyards making their wine so very special.

Waipara Springs

The first vines were planted at the Waipara Winery & Cafe in the early 1980's by the Moore and Grant families, with the first chardonnay vines planted in 1982. 

The vineyard contains some of the oldest Mendoza clone Chardonnay in New Zealand a mixture of Pinot Noir clones, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. Being home to some of the oldest vines in the valley has resulted in estate grown wines with the depth and intensity that only mature vines produce.

New attitudes to winemaking combined with over 30 years of family tradition has resulted in consistently great wines.

Be sure to stay for a wine tasting or delectable meal made from fresh seasonal produce from the winery cafe.

Pegasus Bay Winery and Restaurant

Famed as one of Canterbury's top wineries by Michael Cooper (Wine Atlas of New Zealand) and rated as one of New Zealand's top 5 producers by Robert Parker's Guide 7th edition. The history of Pegasus Bay is one focused on passion, determination and strong family bonds. 

Ivan Donaldson's interest in wine became evident at medicine school where he starting making fruit wines in the university dormitories. In the 1970's he started planting vines. Ten years later he was looking to do something on a larger-scale so he purchased 50 acres of ex-farmland. Ivan's 3 sons were quickly recruited to help transform the brown paddocks and swamp-land to the vineyard it is today.

Nowadays Pegasus Bay is a thriving family business covering 120 acres. All family members are actively involved in the vineyard with oldest son Matthew the chief wine-maker, having graduated with an Oenology Degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Viticulture at Roseworthy College in Australia. Matthew has worked on many other vintages in other parts of the world with a particular focus on Burgundy. Middle son Edward works on the marketing side of things with his wife Belinda in charge of the restaurant. Youngest son Paul is the General Manager looking after the day-to-day running of the business.

Today Ivan Donaldson is still actively involved, the associate professor and consultant neurologist is also a wine writer and judge as well as overseeing the viticulture and wine style of the vineyard. The stunning gardens and grounds are a credit to Ivan's wife Christine, who spends hours maintaining the vineyards extensive grounds. The reserve range of wines that Pegasus Bay produce have been named and dedicated to Christine's passion for Opera.

The philosophy

Pegasus Bay prides itself on low yields of optimally ripened, high quality favourful grapes. A large number of vineyard staff allows operations such as shoot thinning, crop thinning, bunch exposure and fruit selection to be carried out meticulously. The vineyard is also an accredited member of the NZWG sustainable viticulture program and uses natural methods to combat pest and diseases. A deep respect for the land with a long-term view towards vine and soil health typifies the Donaldson families approach to grape growing, with minimal intervention at all stages from vine to bottle.

Where did the name come from?

Waipara Valley is separated from the ocean (Pegasus Bay) by a range of hills which protect it from the cooling winds of the Pacific. To the west lie the Southern Alps (Main Divide) – from where the nor’west winds derive. Sheltered proximity to the sea provide warms days, cool nights and a dry autumn resulting in a prolonged ripening period, intense flavour development, optimal ripeness and good acidity.

Black Estate

Established in 1994 the family owned business of Black Estate has gone from strength to strength. The distinctive black minimalist building perched high on the Omihi slopes not only provides stunning views of the valley but typifies the simple, fresh approach of the vineyard and restaurant menus. Large expansive bi-fold doors open out from the restaurant to capitalise on the sun and vistas making it very hard to leave after a long relaxing lunch!

The philosophy

The organic vineyard under certification by BioGro produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling over 24 hectares and 3 hillside vineyards. The hillside vineyards include Estate established in 1994, Netherwood established in 1986 and Damsteep established in 1999. Various limestone, clay limestone and dense soils combined with warm days and cool nights accumulate in complex and delicious wines. The principles of Black Estate winemaking is gentle and guiding whilst the viticulture is intense and hands-on.

Black Estate is a full family affair with winemaker Nicholas and his wife Penelope looking after the business. Penelope's twin sister Jo helps on the sales front and together with their parents Rod and Stacey the family owns Black Estate. They even had extended family member Richard Nash design and manage the build of the property!