Kumeu River Wines was established in 1944 when Mick and Katé Brajkovich and their son Maté first came to the small country settlement of Kumeu, about 20 km northwest of Auckland City, New Zealand. When Mick died in 1949, Maté and Katé continued to tend the vines and make the wine. In 1958 Maté married Melba Sutich from Dargaville, whose antecedents also came from the Dalmatian coast. Maté passed away in 1992, and now Melba the couple’s three sons run the family winery and vineyards. Michael Brajkovich, studied Oenology at Roseworthy College in South Australia,then returned to the family vineyard and winery in Kumeu to take up responsibility for wine production. Since then he has travelled extensively through the world’s wine areas, spending the 1983 vintage in France with the reputed house of Jean Pierre Moueix in Libourne, near Bordeaux. In 1989, Michael passed the Examination and became New Zealand’s first member of the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine, London. He has many years experience in judging at the New Zealand National Wine Awards, and also has judged at the Australian National Capital Wine Show in Canberra, the Royal Hobart Wine Show in Tasmania and at the Perth Royal Wine Show.
Based on this experience, a new range of wines was developed under the “Kumeu River” label, including a Sauvignon/Semillon blend and a Merlot Cabernet. However, it is the Chardonnay that has enjoyed the greatest critical acclaim, and the “Wine Spectator” magazine has placed Kumeu River Chardonnay in its annual list of the top 100 wines on five occasions. In 1996, the Kumeu River Chardonnay 1994 was ranked at Number 6.
Join us as we talk with Michael Brajkovich about his family’s history in the region, the terroir of New Zealand, his use of indigenous yeasts, and what it took to become a Master of Wine.
For More Info on the Wines of Kumeu River: www.kumeuriver.co.nz
Sponsor: Karafe, Wine Board Game: www.karafe.com
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