Leveret & Mills Reef Winery

If you want to try some of New Zealand’s top wines, a trip to Leveret & Mills Reef Winery in the Bay of Plenty is a must. The winery has been making wines for over 40 years and, according to Winemaker Paul Dawick, is known for their round, plush and full-bodied flavours.

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Leveret & Mills Reef Winery, formerly Leveret Estate, has rebranded following the merger with Mills Reef Winery in August 2020.  Drive north from Tauranga and just before the township of Katikati you’ll come across a romantic looking Dutch-style building set against the backdrop of the Kaimāī mountain range. Since 1978 the estate has been crafting wines and is home to a diverse portfolio, including both the Leveret Estate and Mills Reef brands.

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Paul Dawick, who has been with the Mills Reef brand for 26 years, says people will be amazed by the variety.

“From our Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris right through to bubbles and Viognier. From the elegant Pinot Noir’s and Syrah’s through to the bigger bolder Bordeaux varieties, there is definitely a wine in our cellar door for everyone.”

Paul, who is originally from Hawke’s Bay, has been around the winemaking scene for most of his life. He was working at the Mission Estate in 1988 when Cyclone Bola hit. 

“We had grapes in trucks coming in from all around Hawke’s Bay. There were some heartbroken winemakers. We worked non-stop because the trucks kept coming. The circumstances were difficult, but I could see this vibe, energy and creativity around wine. I knew I had to learn more about it.”

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Paul decided to do some overseas travel and study at Massey, but found himself back at the winery, moving from the vineyards into the cellar. He completed his degree through correspondence, with the support of his wife, Katrina.

In 1995 Paul made the move to the Bay of Plenty and to Mills Reef Winery. He now works with a team of Winemakers at Leveret & Mills Reef Winery that he calls diverse and creative.

“We come together and put our ideas forward; there’s a full balance of skilled palates to pick up the full flavours of the wine.”

Leveret & Mills Reef Winery’s grapes are grown in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough and the finishing is done at the winery. Paul says there is a lot of both creativity and science that goes into winemaking and it starts in the vineyard and at fermentation.

“This is a labour of love. All the winemakers and the team love what we’re doing. It’s not just a glass of wine, there’s a lot of passion in every bottle.”

Leveret & Mills Reef Winery can be found on State Highway 29, approximately 20 minutes north of Tauranga. The Cellar Door is open from 9:30am – 5pm, seven days for wine tastings and purchases of their full portfolio of brands and wines.