Global lockdowns have not stopped UK-based, celebrated talk show host Graham Norton and NZ-based Invivo wine label co-founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron from signing off their latest blend.
"This year we had to work virtually with Graham due to international travel restrictions and we couriered six samples of sauvignon blanc from Marlborough to his holiday home in West Cork, Ireland."
Every year since 2014, the Invivo lads have travelled to meet with Norton to taste the latest harvest and sign off the blend over a few hours tasting, which Lightbourne says is usually a lot of fun.
To bring the virtual tasting to life for Norton, just before Auckland's level 3 lockdown, the boys based themselves up in the Sugar Club atop the Sky Tower for the Zoom call to show him early morning Auckland in the background, they say he loved it from night-time Ireland. The tasting took two hours and next season's GN Sauvignon Blanc's blend is decided.
Norton has a lot to love. The trio is celebrating reaching sales of 10 million bottles of Graham Norton wines.
"I never thought, when we approached Graham seven years ago to make a wine with us, that we would reach this huge milestone," Lightbourne says.
Norton celebrated the milestone on Instagram with a pic of the Zoom call tasting and told his followers he didn't drink all 10 million.