Michael Brajkovich Wins Winemakers’ Winemaker Award 2024


Huge congratulations to Michael Brajkovich MW who has been named as the 2024 recipient of the Winemakers’ Winemaker award at a ceremony during ProWein 2024.

Michael Brajkovich MW
Michael Brajkovich MW

Given annually by the Institute of Masters of Wine and the drinks business since 2011, the award recognises outstanding achievement in the field of winemaking and is chosen by a panel of winemaking peers that comprise all Masters of Wine who are winemakers, and the award’s past winners.

The New Zealand native is recognised by many as the pioneer of the Chardonnay movement in the country and a champion for wild yeasts in winemaking and continues to experiment and develop his technique as a winemaker. His wines continue to impress, perhaps most notably the Hunting Hill Chardonnay.

Cathy van Zyl MW, IMW chair, said: “It is an honour to be able to announce Michael as the recipient of this award. He is an inspiration to many and the passion and dedication that he puts into his winemaking is evident in every glass.”

Michael studied Oenology at Roseworthy College in South Australia, where he was Dux in 1981. After graduation Michael returned to the family vineyard and winery in Kumeu to take up responsibility for wine production. Since, he has travelled extensively through the world’s wine areas and had the opportunity to spend the 1983 vintage in France with the reputed house of Jean-Pierre Moueix in Libourne, near Bordeaux.

In 1989 Michael passed the MW examination becoming New Zealand’s first member of the Institute. He has many years of experience judging at the New Zealand National Wine Awards and also has judged at the Australian National Capital Wine Show in Canberra, the Royal Hobart Wine Show in Tasmania, the Perth Royal Wine Show, and was Chair of Judges at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2015-17.

Michael is mid-harvest at the Kumeu River estate so was unable to attend the awards reception at ProWein, Dusseldorf. The award was accepted on his behalf by fellow Master of Wine, Matthew Deller MW (CEO Wirra Wirra).

Michael also shared a video message with reception guests and samples of his 2022 Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay.

Via video message, Michael Brajkovich MW, said: “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”.

Michael thanked two previous winners and long time associates, Peter Gago (2012 winner) and Jean-Claude Berrouet (2018 winner). Having worked with Jean-Claude Berrouet in Pomerol and St Emilion in 1983, Michael says Berrouet served as both an inspiration and a guide. He emphasised that winemaking is a team effort and credited his family who are actively involved at Kumeu River.

With reference to his family Michael said: “My brother Milan looks after the vineyards, sales and marketing is taken care of by my sister Marijana and brother Paul. The company was started by my late father Maté Brajkovich and continued by his wife (my mother) Melba Brajkovich. And I’d also like to mention Nigel Tibbets who who’s been with the family business for 50 years and continues to help us make great wine.”

Michael now joins the impressive list of previous winners: Jean-Louis Chave (2022), Peter Sisseck (2011), Peter Gago (2012), Paul Draper (2013), Anne-Claude Leflaive (2014), Egon Müller (2015), Alvaro Palacios (2016), Eben Sadie (2017), Jean-Claude Berrouet (2018) and Angelo Gaja (2019).

Source Patrick Schmitt – https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2024/03/michael-brajkovich-wins-winemakers-winemaker-award-2024/

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