Graham Norton takes over New Zealand’s national sports stadium to mix vintage wine

Graham is beamed onto the big screen (Image: Invivo SWNS)

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TV host Graham Norton took over New Zealand's national sports stadium to mix his own vintage wine – on the country's biggest TV screen.

Norton is an investor in New Zealand wine brand Invivo and has spent the last year communicating with co-founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron by video calls.

But when it came to Norton creating his own 2021 vintage, they did it on a much bigger stage – the 50,000 seat Eden Park Stadium in Auckland.

The TV funnyman's image was beamed onto the 40m high screens while Tim and Rob were situated on the half-way line with their wine-blending equipment.

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He took over New Zealand’s Eden Park Stadium – via video call
(Image: Invivo SWNS)

They had already couriered seven Sauvignon Blanc samples – harvested in New Zealand in March this year – to Norton in the UK.

During a two-hour live stream the trio collaborated to create and sign off Norton's Own Sauvignon Blanc 2021 vintage.

Norton said: "It was a lot of fun blending the wine and seeing the guys live at Eden Park stadium – I kept on expecting someone with a lawn mower to appear in the background.

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Invivo co-founders, Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron, pour out the wine on the pitch
(Image: Invivo SWNS)

"I'm delighted with this year's new Sauvignon Blanc blend. It's a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it's a grown-up wine and it's elegant and delicious.

"It's surreal thinking that our little collaboration together that started out all those years ago is now all over the world.

"I'm amazed, and proud of it too. I don't just put my name to the wines, I'm involved and I love being part of the process."

A sip for graham after the mixing's done
(Image: Invivo SWNS)

Graham’s larger-than-life personality and expert wine blending skills shone through at 40 metres wide and eight meters high
(Image: Invivo SWNS)

Norton's collaboration with Invivo & Co goes from strength to strength as the business partners recently celebrated producing their 10 millionth bottle of wine together.

They are on course to produce their 15 millionth bottle; a landmark moment since their first run of 14,000 bottles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in 2014.

Invivo cofounder Tim Lightbourne added: "After zooming Graham on a laptop and our winery boardroom TV screen for over a year now, Rob and I decided to take Graham to the big screen.

The 50,000 seat Auckland stadium was opened exclusively for Tim and Rob
(Image: Invivo SWNS)

Tim and Rob were situated on the halfway line and looking up at the Irish television host on the big screen
(Image: Invivo SWNS)

"We thought there would be something pretty special about Graham being live on the country's biggest screen (40 metres) and our largest stadium at 8am in the morning.

"We were not wrong – running down the tunnel onto the pitch was fantastic, Rob and I have certainly fulfilled a few childhood dreams today.

"We could tell Graham was also excited when we showed him live on the big screen at Eden Park stadium.

"The team at Eden Park were great to work with, we even had the home team changing room to get ready in – it really felt like game day."

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