Established in 1944, this benchmark estate has produced wines of elegance and finesse for over half a century. Founded by Mick Brajkovich, his wife Kate and son Mate, this 74 acre property is located in Kumeu, a subregion of the Auckland wine district on New Zealand's North Island. The winery is currently managed by Mate’s wife, Melba and their children, Marijana, Michael, Milan and Paul. Marijana manages the financial and accounting side of the business, Milan oversees vineyard management and viticulture, Paul runs sales and marketing and Michael is the winemaker.
Although the winery is situated well north of New Zealand's other viticultural regions, its proximity to the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean ensures a moderate, maritime microclimate. The clay and underlying sandstone base soils of the area have superior water retention qualities, thereby eliminating the need for irrigation. All vines are grown in a sustainable manner and to take advantage of the long growing season are trained on a “Lyre” trellis. During harvest, the grapes are picked by hand and sorted in the vineyard.
Michael was New Zealand’s first Master of Wine and 2012 marks his 31st consecutive vintage with Kumeu River. Not content to rest on his laurels, this humble winemaker perpetually searches for ways to improve his wines. Through trial and error, he has developed a regimen that includes whole cluster pressing, minimal use of new oak, wild yeast fermentation, completion of malolactic fermentation and extended barrel aging sur lie. Kumeu River was also the first winery in New Zealand to bottle exclusively in screw cap closures.
The family's hard work and commitment to the Brajkovich legacy has been duly recognized – their Chardonnays are considered amongst the best in the world and they have been consistently named in the Top 100 Wines of the world by Wine Spectator. Kumeu River wines balance wonderful raciness with great concentration and structure – a characteristic that has become the hallmark of this emblematic estate.