Kumeu River Estate


Emigrants from Dalmatia

The story of Kumeu River Wines unfolds more than a half-century ago when the first generation of the Brajkovich family arrived in New Zealand. In 1938, Maté Brajkovich emigrated with his mother, Katé, and two sisters, Frances and Nevenka, from Dalmatia in southwestern Croatia to New Zealand. His father, Mick, had already been there for a year, working in the northern Kauri gum fields. After three years of public education during which time he learned English, Maté left school and joined his father digging Kauri gum. Two years later, the family moved to a dairy farm, then to Henderson in West Auckland where they worked in the orchards and vineyards. By 1944, they had saved enough money to purchase land in Kumeu.

Becoming Winemakers

Although there was a small vineyard already in production on their new property, the main activity was mixed farming; so for the first few years, Mick, Katé and Maté grew fruits and vegetables and raised dairy cows. In Dalmatia, many families made wine for their own use from their own vines; it seemed only natural to do the same in New Zealand. The land was so well-suited for wine grapes that wine production in Kumeu far exceeded home consumption, and the Brajkovichs started making wine commercially. Although Mick died in 1949, Maté and Katé continued to run the family business which became known as San Marino Vineyards. They produced dry red table wine in the style that was preferred for everyday drinking back in Europe, which soon gained popularity among the literary and university circles of Auckland.

A Family Legacy Begins

In 1957, Maté met his wife, Melba Sutich, whose grandparents had also immigrated to New Zealand from Croatia. Maté and Melba were married in 1958, and as the vineyard and winery expanded, so did the family. Michael was born in 1960, followed by Marijana in 1961, Milan in 1963 and Paul in 1967. For the children, being brought up around the winery established a strong foundation of industry knowledge and skill that would take the winery to a new level of success in years to come.

Kumeu River: A New Name, A New Era

1979 was a watershed year for Kumeu River, when the Brajkovichs moved away from hybrid varieties used for the production of fortified and basic red and white wines to the now-common -- but then-unusual -- varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Merlot. As Michael, Milan and Paul became more involved in the family business in the 1980s, the Brajkovichs continued to focus on quality and reputation; the winery changed its name to Kumeu River Wines in 1986 and began making a Burgundy-influenced style of Chardonnay that featured indigenous yeasts, extended lees aging and malolactic fermentation. The result has been a series of wines that are innovative, distinctive and unique in both style and quality for New Zealand. Today, Kumeu River produces 250,000 bottles annually from 30 hectares (74 acres) of estate vineyards in Kumeu, and another 10 hectares (24.7 acres) from local growers.

Read More

Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2017
" The wine was fermented 25% in old French oak barriques, and 75% in stainless steel tanks, so there is very little oak influence on either nose or palate. This has allowed the vibrant fruit to show through beautifully with lively lime and lemon aromas and a flinty, mineral edginess with hints of
Item Number: 30690
Case: $227.40
In stock but not avail for immediate pickup

Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2014
This wine was fermented in a combination of old French oak barriques (25 percent) and stainless-steel tanks (75 percent), so there is very little oak influence on either nose or palate. This has allowed the vibrant fruit to show through beautifully with lively lime and lemon aromas and a flinty,

Kumeu River 'Estate 'Chardonnay 2014
93  James Suckling 
James Suckling 93 Top 50 New Zealand Wines 2016 “Showing impressive purity and focus right from the very first impression, this provides flinty lemons, yellow grapefruit and peach and melon fruits that all sit in perfect, harmonious layers on the nose. The palate's assertively flavored, meanwhile,

Kumeu River 'Estate 'Chardonnay 2009
91  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 91 " The 2009 Estate Chardonnay gives intense notes of ripe apricots, guava, green mango and honey coated nuts with nuances of lightly browned toast and white blossoms. Medium bodied with a silken texture, it gives great concentration, crisp acidity and a long toasty finish. Drinking

Kumeu River 'Estate' Chardonnay 2008
92  Wine Spectator 
 Wine Spectator 92 WS TOP 100 2011 Rank 76  "A wonderful balance between crisp, steely notes of citrus, pear and green apple and complex flavor nuances on a smooth texture, with floral, lime peel and tobacco details. The finish just goes on and on. Drink now through 2016. 2,000 cases