Invivo & Co makes wine and gin that everyone would drink, and the team talk about it the same way their friends would. The team pride themselves on being honest, down to earth people who avoid all the fluff!
“We believe in bringing people together so that great things happen and are renowned for our partnerships with Graham Norton and Sarah Jessica Parker,” said Rob Cameron, co-founder and winemaker at Invivo & Co.
“Invivo & Co was started by myself, Rob Cameron, and my old school friend Tim Lightbourne back in 2008. We’ve come a long way in twelve years and now have wine operations in New Zealand, Australia, Italy and France and produce gin in Ireland with our local West Cork partners.”
By focusing on customers’ needs and innovation, the business and brand has grown exponentially.
“In 2015, we became New Zealand’s first equity crowdfunded wine company after going out to Kiwis who wanted to own a slice of our business to raise capital. After our second successful equity crowdfunding campaign in 2018, we are now one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest crowdfunded companies and have more than 600 shareholders.
Since we undertook our initial crowdfunding exercise in 2015, our business has grown by more than 400%. We are based in one of New Zealand’s oldest wineries in Te Kauwhata that was built by the government built back in 1902. Romeo Bragato was the man in charge, and then six years later his wines won New Zealand’s first ever international gold medal. When we were looking for a winery, it was clear from the start that Te Kauwhata winery had to be the home of Invivo & Co.”
Graham Norton’s Own Prosecco – NWWA Gold medal winner - is one of six drinks in Graham’s range – there is also a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, a New Zealand Rose, a Shiraz from South Australia and Pink and Irish gins from Ireland.
Invivo launched the brand with Graham in 2014 and this year they recently celebrated producing its 10 millionth bottle of wine with Graham.
“We’re proud that he is involved in every step of the process – blending his wines each year with us and inputting into the brand. He’s also a shareholder of Invivo!”
What characteristics of your wine are influenced by the physical landscape of your winery?
“When we first talked about making a sparkling wine with Graham Norton, we knew we wanted to make a Prosecco DOC as it was so popular with consumers around the world.
Our Prosecco comes from the beautiful Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia wine growing regions in Northern Italy where Prosecco vines have been growing for generations and is made from the Glera grape.
I had made wine not too far away in Slovenia in the early 2000’s and so knew the area well as Friuli in Italy shares a Slovenian border and Prosecco was very close. The steep lush hills of the Veneto area, especially around Valdobbiadene are inspiring to be amongst. Despite the vineyard attitude the vines grow vigorously and produce an abundance of beautiful large bunches. The region is still almost all hand grown and harvested making Prosecco a true labour of love.
Our Italian partners Enoitalia are a V.I.V.A certified wine company, meaning that have achieved a sustainable path when creating their wines, to be transparent with their consumers as well as approaching the pillars of sustainability. The V.I.V.A certificate held by the company and means that all of the wines that the producer makes are produced to sustainable standards.”
What is one of the most rewarding things about winemaking?
“Making wine has lots of really interesting and varied aspects to it but the biggest pleasure I get is knowing that thousands of people around the world at any one time are drinking our wines and having a great time with their friends and family!”
“Graham Norton’s own Prosecco is sublimely light and fresh with aromas of white flowers and a hint of citrus. The fine bubbles fill your senses with sweet scented floral notes and has a beautifully crisp finish. It’s a great crowd-pleaser and perfect for celebrating or if you fancy a mid-week glass of fizz!”
What was important in making this award-winning wine?
“The Prosecco winemaking process is a little unique. It starts with a normal fermentation of the the juice followed by stabilisation as with most white wines. Then, to get the bubbles in the bottle – we do another fermentation which creates more CO2. However, with Champagne or more traditional sparkling wines this is done in the bottle – with Prosecco it is done in a stainless tank and then bottled under pressure.
This method is great for producing fruity wines like Prosecco where you don’t want too much sur lie character but the tricky thing is that second fermentation can be challenging and unless you get it 100% right, the light and floral characters of Prosecco can be damaged and you lose the “purity” that great Prosecco exhibits.”
“The great thing about Prosecco is that you can choose a wide range of dishes to match it. Seafood and sushi is a great lunchtime or dinner option with a glass of Graham Norton’s Own Prosecco. As is some light cheeses and dessert.
But if I’m honest when I think Prosecco and that beautiful area, I think of Venice… and that makes me crave squid ink Risotto with prawns and a glass of ice-cold Prosecco and a setting sun over the ocean.”
How long can you shelf your winning bottle of wine for?
“Graham Norton’s Own Prosecco is best enjoyed now until 2022.”
Who would your wine appeal to?
“Anyone and everyone! At Invivo we’re non-elitist and make wines that everyone from all walks of life will enjoy. It’s a decent drop that you can enjoy with your mates over a good yarn at the pub or at home.”
How would you describe this wine to someone who's never had this grape varietal/blend before?
“Graham Norton’s Own Prosecco is a classic, extra dry Prosecco from Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia wine growing regions in Northern Italy. Prosecco is a surprise and delight. It’s floral, fruity, refreshing, light but with bags of flavour. It’s crisp yet has perfectly balanced sweetness. The Glera grape has an alluring hibiscus flower scent that is unique and delicious.”
If you could do a wine bottle swap with any winery in NZ or the world, which winery and wine would it be with?
“A magnum of 1982 Chateau La Tour (or any first growth from ‘82’) Bordeaux is probably my favourite wine. I love it for how it changes in the bottle and in the glass. It starts out quite plain but given time develops into something incredible.”
Founders: Rob Cameron, co-founder and winemaker at Invivo & Co
Current Owners: Rob Cameron and Tim Lightbourne and more than 600 Kiwi shareholders!
Winemaker: Rob Cameron
Location: Te Kauwhata winery, New Zealand
Wine varietals produced: Under Invivo, Graham Norton wines and Invivo X, Sarah Jessica Parker brands: Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Pinot Noir (plus two Irish gins!)