Having a fun approach to wine making has helped award-winning brand Invivo launch its latest product, Scarlett spritzers, to the international market, says co-founder Tim Lightbourne.
"Mucking around" in their winery up in Mangawhai, co-founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron began experimenting with adding natural fruit flavours and sparkling water to some of their white wine bases.
After developing a few bottles in their winery, Cameron and Lightbourne began selling them at the local markets.
According to Lightbourne, the interest and success of the products locally prompted the pair to seriously look into launching the product as part of their range.
"We weren't expecting how popular the spritzers would be, but we kept on getting great feedback from the local markets where we were selling them so we started seriously looking into commercialising them," Lightbourne said.
In the four months since the spritzers were launched in New Zealand, they have already expanded into four international markets - Australia and Bulgaria last month followed by Japan and Canada this month.
According to Lightbourne, their biggest success came after just one meeting with British Columbia's liquor board who approved the drink and labelled it a "must have", meaning all of their stores will stock it.
Lightbourne said the success was largely based on the products' versatility as well as there being a market for new products.
"The cider market is really growing pretty quickly internationally, and craft beer as well.
"I think people are really just looking for something different," Lightbourne said.
"The great thing about the spritzers is that by adding different fruit or using a different white wine base, we can expand the range pretty easily."
As part of the launch into the international market, Invivo hired Australian nationwide distributor Red Island, who had previously helped distribute Swedish cider brand Rekorderlig.
Red Island co-founder Patrick Ale said he was looking forward to working with Invivo and helping to grow the spritzer category in Australia.
"We are very excited to be working with a quality product such as Scarlett's," Ale said.
"Scarlett's reminds us of the launch of Rekorderlig in 2010 in the way it has been picked up by consumers, inquisitive, enjoying the packaging and loving the flavour."