Mills Reef Press Release

You may have read the recent article in the Bay of Plenty times regarding future development of the Mills Reef site, and we have received a number of phone calls and emails from concerned customers worried that this will affect their upcoming function or wedding. Unfortunately what was omitted from their article was to sayis that we have purchased the neighbouring property of 3.1 hectares to be in control of any future development and protect our Mills Reef business as we know it today. At this stage we do not have any application in to council.We do envisage an application to be filed early next year. However, if successful, all plans are for the neighbouring property to be developed first.We imagine it will take 3 or 4 years to fill this neighbouring site with low level housing before it even encroaches on the Mills Reef site. We have a tall shelter belt between the two properties which will remain,therefore leaving our large field in front of the winery intact for quite some time. Please be assured any bookings  for 2015-2017 at Mills Reef will be unaffected by any development that may or may not happen on the neighbouring property over the next two years.  The only reason we have allowed the media to do any reporting on this is to try and dispel the rumours that we have sold. Mills Reef is 100% family owned and has no plans to sell the wine business nor winery land  to a developer.  It  is inevitable we will have to re-locate in the future due to urban pressure, however please be assured that Mills Reef winery will be continuing at its existing location for some years.

Below is the latest Press Release:

 11 December 2014

MEDIA RELEASE: Urban pressure squeezes winery


Mills Reef Winery in Tauranga is being squeezed off its site by urban sprawl, but it is determined to maintain business as usual.

Directors of the multi-award winning winery have accepted that future growth will be constrained on the site now the city has grown out to meet it, and have started long-term planning to relocate to a fresh site in the Western Bay.


When Mills Reef opened on Moffat Rd in 1995 it was an oasis of activity in a rural landscape. There was ample room for its full winemaking and bottling facilities, two underground barrel cellars, an aged-wine cellar, and spacious wine-tasting areas, as well as its celebrated 150-seat restaurant and function venue.
"We are looking to expand the business to take advantage of our continuing success in the industry,” says director Tim Preston, "but our advisors warn us that our plans will come under increased pressure now the site is surrounded by houses.
"We have already had constraints placed on our use of our functions venue and lawns to lessen our impact on our neighbours, even though most of them are sympathetic to our plight.
"Our business expansion calls for more overnight production, with an increase in heavy-traffic movements. Clearly, we will outgrow this site and to secure the future of the winery and our functions venue, we must start to look for a new home of a comparable standard somewhere near Tauranga."

As an immediate buffer, Mills Reef recently purchased an orchard block on its northern boundary so it could try to slow the advance of urbanisation. This site has since been cleared and married into the original site.


A subsequent high-level investigation of the whole site's potential suggests it should be made available for housing, in keeping with prevailing use, and this is now the preferred option for the directors.
The proposed blueprint calls for the winery to make way progressively for modern, low-level houses in the style of a lifestyle precinct, subject to resource consent. The park-like qualities of the 12.5 ha site will be retained and it is envisaged the restaurant complex will serve as a focal point.
The directors expect the process could take up to 10 years to complete, with the winery staying put for perhaps the next five years.
"Regardless of where we move to, and when, we'll still be Tauranga's premier winery and functions venue,” says Tim Preston. "The land has not been sold, and the winery is in expansion mode.
"We will ensure the relocation is seamless and it is really exciting to think we can now design a stunning venue from scratch, incorporating all we have learned here over the past 20 years."
Mills Reef is but the latest winery to uproot from its traditional site to make way for urban sprawl. Other famous relocations include Corbans, Villa Maria and Soljans in Auckland, and Vidal in Hastings, in what has become a trend internationally.


Tim Preston Nick Aleksich


Posted by Marketing on 19 Jan 2015

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