Graham Norton blends his sixth vintage at home

Chat show host Graham Norton helped decide the blend of the sixth vintage of his New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc at home in Ireland due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Invivo founders Tim Lightbourne (left) and Rob Cameron joined Graham in the blending session from Auckland

Norton kicked off his wine venture in 2014 with a 14,000-bottle run of Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough.

With the project having grown rapidly, this year he and business partners Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron of Invivo are set to release their ten millionth bottle.

Norton took part in the blending session with Lightbourne and Cameron over Zoom during an evening call at his West Cork home last month.

During the blending session he tried six Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc samples flown over from New Zealand, which were harvested in March.

Lightbourne and Cameron joined Norton in the two-hour virtual blending session from The Sugar Club restaurant in Auckland.

During the blending process Norton said he felt like “an air steward being talked into landing a plane.” He described the “zingy” 2020 vintage as “soft and fruity, full and floral – it’s sunshine in a glass”.

“We always look forward to our blending date with Graham as he’s an experienced winemaker now. It’s like he’s a full-time member of the team. He seemed to dial straight into what was working and what he was after,” Cameron said of the session.

“Graham managed to weave five quite strong personalities together in the blend that normally might have clashed. The result is focused but expansive. It’s precise in terms of its fruit and acidity balance, but also has layers of concentration and a long finish,” Cameron added.

The wine will go on sale in the UK and Ireland next month. In addition to Sauvignon Blanc Norton’s range includes a Marlborough rosé, an Australian Shiraz, a Prosecco and two Irish gins. Norton is a shareholder in Invivo & Co.

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