Charity feet for Norton

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 12:15 30/04/2014

UK talk show host Graham Norton has jumped feet first into making New Zealand wine for Elton John's charity.

Tim Lightbourne
Invivo Wines co-founders Rob Cameron and Tim Lightbourne with grape grower Callum Linkwater at the Renwick vineyard.

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Invivo Wines owners have made a limited edition wine which they hope to serve and auction off at Elton John Aids Foundation events, with all profits going to the cause.

The grapes used to make the wine were hand-picked from a Marlborough vineyard and flown half way around the world so British comedy talk show host and radio host Graham Norton could crush the fruit with his feet.

The juice was then flown back to New Zealand to be blended with the juice from the block where the fruit was harvested.

This juice was used to make a limited edition wine called Graham Norton Own Sauvignon Blanc.

Invivo Wines co-founder Tim Lightbourne said he received an email last week from the Elton John Aids Foundation saying they were very excited about the idea of serving the wine at their events.

"Whatever events they are holding we hope to be serving wine and auctioning off the limited edition wine."

Lightbourne left the country immediately after they harvested the fruit on Friday, April 11.

The fruit was harvested from their Windrush vineyard in Renwick, owned by Callum and Sarah Linklater - contract growers for Invivo Wines.

Twenty-four hours later Lightbourne was on Norton's stage.

"I was in the air for longer than I was on the ground," Lightbourne said.

Norton spent 15 minutes crushing the fruit with his feet, before Lightbourne bottled the juice to travel back to Auckland. While there, he got to watch the show.

That night Graham Norton hosted Juliette Binoche, Ricky Gervais, Ronnie Corbett and Imelda May on his show - each walking away with a bottle of Invivo Sauvignon Blanc.

Invivo Wines co-founder and winemaker Rob Cameron said they had a great relationship with Norton and he was now a 1 per cent shareholder in the company. "Graham has actually become a minor shareholder in the company so we wanted to get him more involved in a cool and exciting way.

"When we go and visit him, we would always sit down and have a drink after the show."

He and Lightbourne wanted to get Graham more involved in the company, in a creative way, Cameron said.

"Our grapes from Marlborough went over to the UK to be stomped on.

"It's just such a cool thing."

Graham Norton has been tweeting and posting on Facebook about his adventure, Cameron said.

Graham Norton always has a glass of wine with his guests - it just so happens to be Invivo Sauvignon Blanc made from organically grown Marlborough grapes.

The 2kg of fruit was flown by helicopter from the vineyard to a connecting plane, to join up with Lightbourne for the flight to London.

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- The Marlborough Express

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