Business Irish

Sunday 23 October 2016

Corks are flying as New Zealand winery toasts deal with Musgrave to stock Graham Norton wine here

Published 01/10/2015 | 02:30

Graham Norton with Rob Cameron of Ivivo wines
Graham Norton with Rob Cameron of Ivivo wines

Cork retail group Musgrave - the owner of the SuperValu and Centra brands - has signed a deal with New Zealand wine maker Invivo, in which Irish comedian Graham Norton has a stake, to stock its 'GN' sauvignon blanc in a major expansion for the brand.

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The wine is due to be launched this month in Ireland, the UK and Australia.

Invivo has tripled its monthly sales of the Graham Norton edition wine on foot of the expansion plan, with pre-orders running at 4,000 bottles a day during August.

Invivo co-founder Tim Lightbourne said that it was only after Graham Norton mentioned Invivo wine in his recent autobiography that the company's profile was raised.

It then went on to develop the Graham Norton-branded wine, with his input.

Mr Norton, who grew up in Bandon, Co Cork, owns 2pc of Invivo, with his share of profits being donated to the UK charity, Dogs' Trust.

Until last year, the New Zealand winery didn't have enough of the limited edition Graham Norton sauvignon blanc to sell outside of its native country, despite significant interest in the brand from overseas.

The co-founders of Invivo, Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron, travelled to Ireland and the UK in May this year to sound out retailers.

"It was kind of a no-brainer for them," Mr Lightbourne told the 'New Zealand Herald' this week.

"There's already a bit of built-up anticipation for it to come over there and now we can bring the volumes to support nationwide Irish and UK launches," he added.

"We've got containers going out every week, it's just been off the hook.

"We've ramped things up a lot which is good because we took in a lot more grapes this year and increased volume," Mr Lightbourne said.

Musgrave will stock the wine through its store network here, according to Mr Lightbourne.

In the UK, the Majestic Wine chain will sell it through its off-licences.

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