Michael Brajkovich MW announced as 2024 Institute Masters of Wine, Winemakers’ Winemaker
Published on: March 14, 2024
KUMEU RIVER LOGO

“We’re all very proud to announce that Michael has been awarded the ‘Winemakers’ Winemaker’ by the Institute of Masters of Wine.
Read more below.

Following on from Jancis Robinson MW OBE receiving the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award, Michael has been honoured as the 2024 Winemakers’ Winemaker, at a ceremony during ProWein trade fair in Düsseldorf.

The Institute of Masters of Wine is the home of exceptional expertise in the wine world. Founded over 70 years ago as an exam for the UK wine trade is now a globally recognised title collectively held by a worldwide family of Masters of Wine. Today, there are 417 MWs based in 31 countries.  As many of you know Michael was New Zealand’s very first Master of Wine.

As we’re mid-harvest at the Kumeu River estate he was unable to attend the awards reception at ProWein, Dusseldorf. The award was accepted on his behalf by fellow Master of Wine, Matthew Deller (CEO Wirra Wirra).

Michael prepared a video message with reception guests and a glass of his 2022 Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay.”

The Brajkovich Family

Presented by the Institute of Masters of Wine and the drinks business since 2011, the award recognises outstanding achievement in winemaking. Masters of Wine winemakers and the previous award recipients voted Brajkovich as this year’s winner.

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 mentioned two previous winners, Peter Gago (2012 winner) and Jean-Claude Berrouet (2018 winner). 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 Tibbits 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). Due to the global pandemic, there was no award given in 2020, 2021 and 2023.

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