Kumeu, Huapai and Waimauku Wine country is one of New Zealand's legendary winemaking regions. A few growers first began planting grapes in the region in the early 20th century. However, it was during the 1960's when a large movement of Henderson based winemakers moved out to Kumeu looking for larger blocks of land and more favourable climate conditions. Companies such as Corbans, Nobilo, Coopers Creek, Matua Valley and Kumeu River are the legends of the region, who still make world-class wine today.
The climate in the region is a maritime climate with mild temperatures, high rainfall and constant breezes from the south-west. The region's soil is predominantly clay loam which is perfect for producing quality Chardonnay and warm red wines. Kumeu River's Chardonnays, produced by winemaker Michael Brajkovich are the most famous wines which hail from the region.
Below are some photos taken from the wineries and vineyards, including Kumeu River, Soljans, Nobilo, Coopers Creek, Matua Valley, Twin Totara, Westbrook, Kerr Farm and Waimarie Estate.
Kumeu River was established in 1944 when the Brajkovich family moved to Kumeu. At first the vineyard was named San Marino Vineyards but was renamed Kumeu River in 1986. Maté and Melba Brajkovich improved the winery and vineyard with modern equipment and extended the grape vine plantings from the 1960's to 1990's. Maté became a prominent wine industry figure in New Zealand throughout his life and was instrumental in the creation of The NZ Wine Institute. He was awarded the OBE in 1985 for services to the wine community.
Michael Brajkovich is the current winemaker of Kumeu River and is also one of four children surviving Maté who passed away in 1992. Michael studied at Roseworthy College in Adelaide before travelling to France for valuable vintage experience. Michael then went on to become New Zealand's first Master of Wine. Kumeu River is a family orientated company with Melba being the manager of Kumeu River and Milan, son of Melba, as viticulturist. The other two childern Marijana and Paul help with marketing and Sales.
Kumeu River makes some of New Zealand's finest Chardonnay with the top single vineyard wines going by the names of Mates Vineyard, Hunting Hill and the Estate Chardonnay.
Soljans is one of the few wineries in New Zealand that can claim to have a long and proud winemaking heritage. Soljans Estate Winery is a sparkling wine
specialist with Fusion Sparkling Muscat being the most awarded NZ Sparkling wine. Soljans Estate Winery recently celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2012.
The Nobilo family were one of the original pioneers in the New Zealand wine industry and its move to classic varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. Today grapes are sourced predominantly from Marlborough and Hawke's Bay, and processed in Huapai. The super-premium Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir have won top-of-class awards in overseas competitions.
Coopers Creek Vineyard has been crafting award winning fine wines since the 1980's. They are still a family owned winery located in beautiful Kumeu Wine Country. Their wines are made from grapes grown in New Zealand's best winegrowing regions. Their Viognier and Chardonnay are the two stars to look out for.
Matua Vally was established by Ross and Bill Spense who were considered mad, back in 1974 when they produced New Zealand's first Sauvignon Blanc.
Since then Matua has continued to lead the NZ wine industry with outstanding quality wines and many accolades, including NZ Wine Producer of the Year at the IWSC 2012.
The boutique family owned Twin Totara vineyard is located amongst the vineyards of Waimauku, North West Auckland. Two native Totara trees oversee a gentle north facing slope. The vines are tendered by hand by family and friends from planting to harvest. Only the best fruit is selected for delivery to the winery. The wine is crafted using light handed traditional techniques allowing the fruit to drive the wine making process.
West Brook is one of New Zealand’s oldest and most respected boutique wineries owned and operated by fourth generation winemakers, the Ivicevich family. Their grapes are grown on site at Waimauku as well as sourced from Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. West Brook winemakers aim to produce modern wine styles that show the full potential and diversity of New Zealand’s growing regions.
Kerr Farm Vineyard is a boutique estate which produce Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinotage, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.Their Pinotage vines are some of the oldest in New Zealand. Unfortunately the vineyard is in danger of being added to the fast expanding residential developments which is spreading in Kumeu.