The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Michael Brajkovich awarded Winemakers’ Winemaker for 2024

Michael Brajkovich MW was named the 2024 recipient of the Winemakers’ Winemaker award at a ceremony during ProWein last week.

Awarded annually by the Institute of Masters of Wine and the drinks business since 2011, the award recognises outstanding achievement in the field of winemaking.

The winner is chosen by a panel of winemaking peers that comprise Masters of Wine who are winemakers, and the award’s past winners.

Brajkovich, of Kumeu River Wines, is considered a pioneer of the Chardonnay movement in New Zealand and a champion for wild yeasts in winemaking.

Currently in the middle of harvest, Brajkovich was unable to attend the ceremony in Düsseldorf, Germany, but said in a video: “I am absolutely delighted and deeply honoured to be recognised by my peers of the Institute.

“It’s a real honour to be included in the list of people who have won this award in the past and even more so because it is a recognition from members of the Institute and particularly winemaker members of the Institute.”

Brajkovich passed the MW examination in 1989, becoming New Zealand’s first member of the Institute.

A true family affair, Kumeu River was started by Michael’s father Maté and continued by his mother Melba Brajkovich.

Michael’s brother Milan looks after the vineyards, and sales and marketing is taken care of by his sister Marijana and brother Paul.

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