Christine Donaldson,
Pegasus Bay Winery and Restaurant

Eldest son, Matthew, is the head winemaker. His brother, Edward, manages marketing and Paul, the youngest, is the winery’s general manager. Father and founder, Ivan Donaldson oversees viticulture and wine styles, while his partner and wife, Christine, spends much of her time maintaining Pegasus Bay’s stunning grounds. On Almighty’s last visit, we toured Pegasus Bay and chatted to Christine about her heavenly garden.

Pegasus Bay gardeners: Paula, Anne & Christine.

We planted a kitchen garden with herbs, fruit and “rarer” ingredients like figs, truffles, olives, horseradish and artichokes

Quite a bit of time on the lawn mower!

What was the inspiration behind growing a garden?
We are a family owned and operated vineyard, winery and restaurant since its inception in 1986 when we planted the grapes. Ivan and I have 4 sons and 2 daughters-in-law working with us. The gardens were commenced very early on with the intention of beautifying the area around the winery and restaurant. It has evolved from barren, dry sheep paddocks with swamps, brambles, muehlenbeckia, gorse, convolvulus and broom etc. We cleared out the swamp, creating 4 lakes by building small dams.

Gorgeous Autumn grapevines.

What makes the Pegasus Bay garden super awesome?
We planted a kitchen garden with herbs, fruit and “rarer” ingredients like figs, truffles, olives, horseradish and artichokes. We have gradually worked on different projects, the most recent being the addition of a third red bridge and an oriental garden. We are trialling Japanese Niwaki styles which includes “grooming” trees and topiary. Much fun!

We now have about 3 hectares of different areas including a rhododendron gully with 300+ bushes, a native bush walk, lawns, topiaries, hydrangeas, roses, hostas and a conifer garden among other “rooms”. I have a head gardener full time (except when she is needed on the bottling line) and myself managing things. Quite a bit of time on the lawn mower!

Front of house manager, Bora.

How does the garden change through different seasons?
We have planted a garden for all seasons so every day something new appears from the first willow leaves in spring through to winter roses and the start of the rhododendrons.

What is your favourite herb to grow and eat?
My favourite herb is probably mint with its unique flavour, but love basil, parsley and coriander along with all the others which give different flavours and nuances to dishes.

The extensive restaurant herb garden.

…every day something new appears from the first willow leaves in spring through to winter roses and the start of the rhododendrons

What is your favourite flower to grow?
My favourite flower is possibly alstromeria as it is so easy to grow and a great vase filler, but what about roses and hostas?

What is your favourite fruit tree?
I love the fig trees, particularly, and enjoy the many different varieties we have. And of course the wide variety of other fruit trees.