The crowdfunded winery that Graham Norton brought to fame

Long Lunch 12/01/2018
Invivo co-founders Rob Cameron and Tim Lightbourne.

It’s approachable. It skips the ‘unnecessary complexity’ often associated with wine. And it produces wines for the likes of Graham Norton and our very own Paul Henry.

That’s Invivo Wines in a nutshell. And in 2015, it became the first equity crowdfunded winery in New Zealand.

Invivo co-founder Tim Lightbourne joins Wendyl Nissen on The Long Lunch to discuss the wine company’s journey and celebrity-linked fame.

Along with other co-founder Rob Cameron, the Kiwi winemakers hit it big after getting Graham Norton to feature their wines on his show each Friday night.  

When they approached Graham on making a wine together (and a hint of persistence), he said yes.

“It was a bit of a risk,” says Mr Lightbourne. “But what was there to lose for us?”

Invivo Wines has since produced several vintages with Graham, including Graham Norton’s Own SauviGNon Blanc 2017 and Graham Norton’s Own “Pink by DesiGN” Rosé 2017.

“From day one we always had to do things different,” says Mr Lightbourne. “So bringing Graham on board was one of the ways we did that.”

“There are a lot of great wineries making great wine across New Zealand,” he explains. “And we needed to be a bit different in our approach.”

We don’t pretend to be something we’re not.

Invivo entered the wine scene in 2008, later becoming the first equity crowdsourced winery in New Zealand.

In 2015, Invivo offered 20 percent of their winery to the public for a maximum of $2 million. While the campaign was intended to go for a full month, it was oversubscribed after six days with 439 investors.

“[Our investors] are our ambassadors for our brand around the country,” he says.

One of Invitro's past campaigns described the brand to be: 'Made from grapes, time and two maxed out credit cards.'Invivo is a winery without vineyards, and instead sources it’s grapes from growers in Marlborough, Central Otago and Gisbourne.

Invivo's Tim Lightbourne takes over The Long Lunch studio

Invivo is a winery without vineyards, and instead sources it’s grapes from growers in Marlborough, Central Otago and Gisbourne.

“We want people like us to drink our wine,” says Mr Lightbourne. “We just want it to be accessible to our consumers.

You can watch Graham blending his wine with a little 'help' from Invivo here 

Listen to the full interview with Tim Lightbourne above.

Afternoon Talk with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.