The story of Kumeu River Wines began to unfold in 1937 with the first generation of the Brajkovich family to arrive in New Zealand; Mick and Katé and their three children, daughters Franka and Nevenka, and son Maté.
After a few years of working in the gumfields of the far north, the family moved to Henderson in West Auckland where Mick, Katé, and Maté worked in local vineyards and orchards. By 1944, they had saved enough money to purchase a Kumeu property with a small vineyard, which became known as San Marino Vineyards.
In 1957, Maté met his wife, Melba, whose grandparents had also immigrated to New Zealand from Croatia. During the 1960’s the couple had four children Michael, Marijana, Milan and Paul.
It was the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that saw a marked evolution in the style and direction of the winery. In 1979 the winery moved away from the hybrids used for the production of fortified and basic table wines to varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Merlot.
During the 1980’s Michael, Milan, and Paul became more involved in the business and the winery took on a new focus; quality and reputation. The winery changed its name to Kumeu River Wines and began producing a Burgundy-influenced style of Chardonnay that featured indigenous yeasts, extended lees aging, and malolactic fermentation.