Graham Norton’s winemaker secures historic site

9th February, 2016 by Rupert Millar

Invivo, the New Zealand wine producer behind chat show host Graham Norton’s own-brand wine label, has acquired a 114-year-old winery near Auckland.

Alcohol still at Winery

Invivo’s Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron admire the still at the winery

The company has secured a long lease on the historic site which was built by the New Zealand government in 1902 as the country’s first viticulture station.

The winery’s on-site bottling plant will allow Invivo to turn out up to 12,000 bottles a day of its various wines.

The company’s cofounder, Tim Lightbourne, said: “It’s exciting to be taking over the place where Romeo Bragato made some of New Zealand’s first export wines. The guy’s a legend. Winemaker, innovator and exporter.  The history of the place, the great stories that have been documented also really appealed to us.

“This is a piece of Southern Hemisphere wine history, so it’s great that we can continue the winemaking story there and it won’t be used for any other means or property developments.”

Invivio winemaker, Rob Cameron, added: “We plan to respect the historic features and history of the winery but also add extra capacity to support our growth plans. We are honoured to keep this historic winery operating and continue the legacy, when otherwise it would’ve had to close its doors.”

In the early 20th century the winery was headed by viticulturist Romeo Bragato. In 1908 he sent six wines to the Franco-British Exhibition in London, where five of them won gold medals – the first ever international medals awarded to wines from New Zealand.

In World War 2 a huge still, that is still there to this day, was installed to make medicinal alcohol.

From the 1990s to 2007 it was home to Rongopai wines and most recently it has been operating as a contract winemaking and bottling plant.

In 2015 Invivo collaborated with UK chat show host Graham Norton to create a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The 2016 vintage of that brand is likely to be among the first wines made at the site.

Invivo's_Te Kauwhata winery

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

National Sales Manager

Maverick Drinks
Field based, UK

Regional Sales Executive

EWGA
Gloucestershire, UK

Senior Content Writer

Rude Wines
Ledbury, UK

Events and Trips Manager

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
East Scotland, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 21st October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more