Marijana Brajkovich from Kumeu River Talks with Specialist Cellars

Who do you admire most in the world of wine and why?

I have two – Melba Brajkovich – Maté and later Melba established Kumeu River in 1944 and ensured a legacy for us – their four children to continue. Secondly Jancis Robinson who has made understanding wine accessible for all wine lovers.

What wine variety are you most excited about for its future in NZ?

Chardonnay, because it is already the best, and can only get better.

Have you had a “wine moment” ? Like a specific point in time where you knew you wanted to work in the wine industry?

When you are born into it – it is always a part of you and after some years in the hotel business I knew it was time to return.

What are your 5 favourite wines available at The New Zealand Cellar?

Felton Road Pinot Noir Block 5, Neudorf Albariño, Villa Maria Keltern Chardonnay, Nautilus Sparkling, Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Riesling, Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay.

Is there a specific wine region you benchmark your wines against?


What is your biggest learning curve you’ve met working in the industry?

Tacking the USA wine market. 

Have you tasted many Australian Wines and if so which region are you most excited for?

Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills, for cool-climate Riesling and Shiraz (Henschke and Yalumba) and Chardonnay (Shaw and Smith, Petaluma).

So – set the scene for us. You are having the night of your life …

What are you drinking (from your range?)
Matés Vineyard Chardonnay 2014.

Who are you drinking it with?
My family.

What are you eating?

And what music is playing?
Van Morrison or Diana Ross – depends whether we are dancing!

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