It’s 110 years since the early pioneers of the Brajkovich family arrived in New Zealand from Croatia. Peter Richards MW spent some time with the family to uncover the secrets of growing world-class Chardonnay.

This profile has been published online for Decanter Premium members and includes recommendations on top Kumeu river wines to try.

Kumeu River at a glance

Location Kumeu, Auckland, New Zealand; founded in 1944

Owners Brajkovich family 

Area 30ha own vineyards plus 10ha contract

Soils Mainly clay over a sandstone base

Production 250,000 bottles

Chardonnay cuvées Village, Estate, Coddington, Hunting Hill, Maté’s Vineyard

Pronunciation Br-eye-ko-vitch (Brajkovich), Cue-Mew (Kumeu), Matty (Maté)


We are standing overlooking the iconic Maté’s and Hunting Hill vineyards under a scented, sultry Auckland sky.

Milan Brajkovich muses: ‘We’ve always just made wines we like to drink. New World wines with an Old World twist, for a fair price. We focus on what we do best: Chardonnay. Then we’ve gone out and found enough people who share our view. It’s taken a while, but it’s worked.’