The troubled Mahana Estates Winery in Nelson owes the bank $3.2 million, receivers say.

The property is on the market for sale and was tipped into receivership in September after struggling for three years with a lawsuit brought by Las Vegas casino moguls against its sole director and majority shareholder, Glenn Schaeffer.

In their first report this week, receivers said the business owed about $20 million to a related company that developed the vineyard and winery. Rabobank was also owed $3.2m, the receivers from KordaMentha said.

Trade creditors are owed a further $223,000 and employees are claiming $41,696.


The receivers are selling Mahana's 21ha vineyard planted in pinot noir, pinot gris, riesling and chardonnay; a 1589sq m winery, a cellar door tasting room and retail outlet designed as an a-la-carte restaurant and a commercial grade event venue.

Two other real estate assets involved with Mahana's operations are being sold by its owners. Those tenders also close on December 12. The assets include a 9ha sauvignon blanc vineyard in the nearby region of Hope and an upmarket lodge with three residences capable of accommodating 14 guests at a time.

For the past three years, Mahana's Schaeffer has been battling a High Court lawsuit brought against him by James Murren and Daniel Lee.

Murren is chief executive of MGM Resorts International, a multi-billion dollar Las Vegas hospitality business, while Lee is also the boss of a casino company in the same city.

In court documents, Murren and Lee said they and others discussed forming a partnership with Schaeffer that would own a vineyard and winery.

After a 2008 approach from Schaeffer, Murren said he and his trust had personally paid Schaeffer US$1.6 million (NZ$2.3m) and Lee said he paid US$700,406. The pair allege false representations were made to them that they would be part owners of the vineyard.

Their long-running High Court case concluded on November 7, but it could be the new year before a verdict is delivered.