‘Kumeu River’ is easily one of the most well recognised wine brands in New Zealand, and for a clear reason. The Brajkovich family story and ‘Kumeu River Wines’ is one that mirrors New Zealand’s rise in the wine industry… coincidence … definitely not. The Brajkovich family emigrated to New Zealand from Croatia in 1937 and began working on vineyards and orchards in the Auckland area until they saved enough money to purchase their own Kumeu property and a small vineyard in 1944. It was here the legend was born.
‘Kumeu River Wines’ now boast 30 hectares of predominantly clay soil vineyards in the area in West Auckland, and while this isn’t near the other viticulture wine hubs of New Zealand, Kumeu’s cool climate and proximity to ocean make it a terroir perfect for making Chardonnay and Pinot Gris – their signature grapes. In 2017 Kumeu finally purchased their first Vineyard outside of the Kumeu area in Hawke’s Bay – another site known for exceptional Chardonnay.
The Brajkovich family have played a key role in raising the New Zealand wine industry’s profile on the international stage, while also garnering outstanding recognition for producing world class wine. They are nationally known as a founding family of New Zealand wine, and the current generation have a well-earned reputation for producing world class Chardonnay that can rival even the best Burgundians in style.
‘Kumeu River’ has an extensive portfolio of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with different labels across these varieties. If ever there was going to be a wine that you had to try before you died, we highly recommend letting it be the ‘Kumeu Matés Chardonnay’. This wine could stand up to the best in French wine production, from its mouth watering texture to its incredible fruit flavour profile, you will not be disappointed.
Back in the 1930s and ’40s, Croatian immigrants settled in West Auckland. Taking refuge from the depression that ravaged Europe. Many of these new arrivals brought the secrets of wine and vine with them, founding vineyards and orchards. With the ambition to rival the vintners of the Hawkes Bay region, Auckland’s vineyards flourished and a few of New Zealand’s largest wineries were born.
Auckland is comprised of 5 sub-regions; Waiheke Island, Kumeu, Clevedon, Henderson and Matakana laying claim to 2% of NZ’s wine production. While the sub-regions differ wildly and are very distinctive, they experience a similar climate with a maritime weather environment, benefiting from warm, primarily frost-free conditions. The region undergoes fairly high rainfall, occasionally drawing issues in the spring and summer months as vineyards are typically established on soils such as clay, mixed alluvial, volcanic or greywacke that retain water and drains slowly.
Out of the 80’s an array of small boutique vineyards under private ownership blossomed, raising the sale price of the region’s wine and firmly establishing Auckland on the wine map. While a variety of styles are grown here, it‘s the Chardonnay and Bordeaux style wines that flourish.