The Brajkovich family own the highly regarded Kumeu River Estate near Auckland. Although Kumeu is a rather less fashionable wine district than some on New Zealand’s North Island, the Brajkovichs have proven that it is possible to make wonderful wines here.
The Brajkovich family
Michael Brajkovich, who was incidentally the first New Zealander to become a Master of Wine has been the winemaker since 1982. His non-conformist and forward-thinking approach has been particularly successful in creating wines that show the hallmarks of New Zealand although there is a definite Old Word inspiration throughout. Michael’s brothers Milan and Paul look after the vineyards and sales respectively so it is all a real family effort.
Pinot noir here is restrained in structure and discreet of fruit and definitely more akin to Burgundy than New Zealand. Both the Kumeu River Estate and top Maté’s Vineyard chardonnays are barrel-fermented and aged - they are also unusually ageworthy for New Zealand whites – and are thought of as some of the world’s best chardonnays. Kumeu pinot gris successfully balances vibrant fruit aromas with a smooth texture reminiscent of good Alsace examples. The well-priced Kumeu River Village range is made with the same commitment as Kumeu’s top wines and offers well-integrated stylish wines for everyday enjoyment.
Michael Brajkovich in the winery, Milan Brajkovich with Society Buyer Sarah Knowles MW and Paul Brajkovich undertaking staff training at The Wine Society
Michael Brajkovich MW from Kumeu River was New Zealand's first Master of Wine. Here he discusses his Exhibition New Zealand Chardonnay