Entertainer has a taste for Kiwi sav blanc

Invivo Wines' Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron share a drink with Graham Norton. Photo / Invivo Wines
Invivo Wines' Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron share a drink with Graham Norton. Photo / Invivo Wines

After supplying British talkshow host Graham Norton with a case of wine each week for more than two years, a Kiwi winemaker is planning on naming a limited-edition vintage after him.

Invivo Wines co-founder Tim Lightbourne said he got in touch with Norton after reading he was fond of a good bottle of sauvignon blanc.

"I rang up the show in the UK and said, 'Look, we're a New Zealand wine producer, we make sauvignon blanc'."

The phone call was followed up with a case of wine to Norton, which he tried, and liked.

"They got back to me after he tried it and said, 'He loves your wine. Can we work on some sort of a supply arrangement for the show?"' Mr Lightbourne said.

"Basically, I wanted to be the official wine of the show, which they've allowed me. Every week during filming we supply enough bottles for Graham on the show."

A case of Marlborough sauvignon blanc is sent to Norton for each show and the guests take a bottle home as part of a gift bag, Mr Lightbourne said.

"It's pretty good for us. Not only [is] Graham drinking the wine, but also the likes of some pretty heavy-hitter global celebrities."

Mr Lightbourne said he and Rob Cameron, Invivo's co-founder and winemaker, were considering bottling a limited-edition Graham Norton sauvignon blanc.

Invivo has supplied Graham Norton's show with sauvignon blanc for more than two years.
Invivo has supplied Graham Norton's show with sauvignon blanc for more than two years.

They hadn't run the idea by Norton yet but some of the limited edition of around 500 bottles were expected to end up in the hands of their namesake.

Despite earning a reported £2.61 million ($5 million) from the BBC last year, Norton is yet to pay for a bottle of Invivo sauvignon blanc.

"It's a talking point for us, it's to show our local customers in the UK that we're trying to do things to be talked about - getting the wine in the right hands," Mr Lightbourne said.

Invivo was thinking of sending riesling and pinot noir his way, too.

Norton isn't the only British celebrity to quaff back Invivo wines. Last year, the firm supplied Sir Bob Geldof's daughter Peaches' wedding. It had also been asked to supply another chat show in the UK later this year, Mr Lightbourne said.

Invivo produces wines from Marlborough and Central Otago.

- APNZ

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