Invivo and Norton toast successSave
By Sarah Harris
It's hard work coming up with a good wine but UK talk show host Graham Norton has come up with the perfect recipe while enjoying a boozy afternoon with Kiwi winemakers.
Wine company Invivo brings out its latest celebrity collaboration - Graham Norton's Own Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - on Friday. Norton and Invivo co-founder Tim Lightbourne and winemaker Rob Cameron travelled over 20,000km to Norton's holiday home town - Bantry House in County Cork, Ireland.
They worked their wine making magic with six distinctive Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc pressings. Then, over a reportedly riotous afternoon blending session the trio created Graham Norton's 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and 2016 Graham Norton Shiraz.
The shiraz goes on sale in September.
Norton seemed to enjoy the afternoon of mixing and matching wines. He finishes off the sauvignon blanc tasting with a toast.
"You could drink gallons of that."
Norton, who is a long time New Zealand wine lover, explains the new wine is easy drinking. He jumped at the chance to get involved in wine making and hopes to make it to New Zealand one day.
"It's got all the grassiness and zest you expect from a new world sauvignon blanc but I like to think it has a bit of an old world finish.
"I'd love to visit New Zealand and see the grapes on the vine, but I can't say when. We are very far away, I've got dogs, I work a lot, I'm old. I'm lazy!"
Almost 2000 stores spread around Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand sold out of the famed talk show host's wine last year.
Lightbourne says last year's Graham Norton's Own Sauvignon Blanc was probably the most successful wine launch in New Zealand.
"We think this is because Graham is so hands on with the process and is a shareholder in the business."
The Kiwi company have doubled production for their 2016 vintage to meet demand for their sell-out wine.
Lightbourne first asked Norton if they could supply his show with wine in 2011.
"We sent in a case of our sauvignon blanc and they came straight back and said Graham liked our wine ... In 2014, we approached Graham to produce a wine with us which he agreed to, but said we had to make it fun!"
Being in partnership with Norton, who owns 2 per cent of the company, has had a massive effect on Invivo said Lightbourne.
"Our sales of Invivo this year are up over 200 per cent versus last year. It has opened doors with buyers where they wouldn't even meet us before.
"Last year, we ran at the time New Zealand's most successful equity crowdfunding campaign raising the maximum $2 million in eight days, I'm sure having Graham's support and producing his wine helped investors to come on-board with us."
Early this year Invivo took over the historic Te Kauwhata winery, one of New Zealand's oldest wineries established in 1902 by the NZ Government.
Invivo has won over 140 medals and 5 trophies since their first wine in 2008.