Mills Reef was founded in 1989 when the Preston family, headed by father Paddy, converted a cowshed into a working winery. Nearly 30 years later, it has become a Kiwi success story.
Mills Reef Wines are one of New Zealand’s leading Gimblett Gravels and Hawke's Bay wine producers. Winning over 900 medals and 30 trophies in national and international competitions, along with being twice recipient of the prestigious New Zealand Winemaker of the Year Award. The Gimblett Gravels district is strictly determined by the gravely soils laid down by the old Ngaruroro River in Hawkes Bay, exposed after a huge flood in the 1870’s. The temperatures in the Gimblett Gravels are between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius warmer than in other Hawke's Bay areas. This extra heat combined with gravely soils ensure ripe full flavoured grapes which make these wines so special.
Through commitment and dedication to excellence, the Mills Reef brand has established itself as one of New Zealand’s premium wine brands with a particular reputation for outstanding Bordeaux varietal Reds and Syrah.
Raised in the heart of one of New Zealand’s prestigious grape-growing regions, and second-largest in the country, it was by no strange coincidence that growing up in Hawke’s Bay lead Paul to his career in Winemaking.
After 7 years at the Mission Estate, it was time to spread his wings and in 1995, he moved to the Bay of Plenty and started at Mills Reef winery. From there, his passion to delve into the science of winemaking intensified and he began a Winemakers degree via distance learning through Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Australia.
In 2006, after 6 years of study, Paul graduated and slowly worked his way up to Senior Winemaker at Mills Reef in 2008. With almost 25 years of winemaking at Mills Reef, in 2019 a new chapter began following the merger with Leveret Estate. As Winemaker for Mills Reef under The Wine Portfolio, he is able to share his knowledge and grow with the experienced Winemaking team.