A New Zealand winemaker famous for its deals with celebrities Graham Norton and Sarah Jessica Parker is taking a leap into the crypto world with the launch of its first set of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Invivo, founded by Kiwis Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron, is auctioning 10 blockchain tokens based on comedian and chat-show host Norton's new He-Devil wine.
While many NFTs are simple, pixelated images, the company - which has sold more than 14 million bottles of wine with its Norton partnership - is trying to do something a little different, with physical experiences and tangible assets going hand in hand with the digital.
For one of the owners of the first batch of NFTs that will include an exclusive one-on-one live virtual tasting with Norton and the Invivo co-founders, assigned at random once they've been sold.
The net proceeds of that sale will also be given to charity, the company said.
Owners of the He-Devil NFTs also get an annual 'first release' bottle of wine for the next five years, a signed, framed physical print of their artwork and will be eligible for membership to the Invivo Federation of Friends (IFF).
The latter includes exclusive virtual wine tastings, priority for new wine releases and discounts on Invivo products, with more to be announced in the future.
It's all a part of the company's desire to create a digital community around NFT ownership, co-founder Lightbourne told Newshub, which he hopes will eventually consist of thousands of engaged owners.
"It's a long-term strategic approach, as opposed to a one-off marketing stunt," he said.
"After the first 10 we can start releasing further collections down the track with every release of wines and build a real community."
That includes more auctions, with the next one scheduled to feature Sex In The City star Parker's wine, which is branded with a big X the actor painted.
"There's a new Sex in the City series being released next month called And Just Like That, so maybe in conjunction with that we will release the new collection," Lightbourne said.
As well as embracing new technologies, the move into selling NFTs could also have an added benefit for the company - and that's attracting those who might not otherwise have heard of Invivo, Lightbourne told Newshub.
"With ownership of the NFT they'll be exposed to a whole lot of exclusive information about Invivo and what we're doing. This digital space is here to stay we want to be part of it and get in there early."
NEXT, THE METAVERSE
The company has form in doing just that, as the first winery in the southern hemisphere to equity crowdfund back in 2015.
And NFTs are unlikely to be where it stops either, with Lightbourne already talking about the potential of the metaverse, and maybe even a virtual avatar of Norton serving customers a glass of virtual wine in a virtual mall.
"It's kind of what we do at Invivo in terms of just trying to do things a little bit differently and how we've approached the wine market over the years," he said.
"If [the customers] are going to be part of this digital world, we want to be there as well.
"If you have our NFT code, you'll be able to shop in that virtual wine shop and choose a bottle of wine which would be then physically delivered to your house anywhere in the world."
That option probably sounds more palatable to many when compared to having work meetings with other avatars, or buying virtual real estate in Mark Zuckerburg-run Meta's version.
The 10 initial He-Devil NFTs are now for sale on NFT marketplace Opensea with an opening price of 0.06 ether, which is currently around NZ$390. The auctions will run for 14 days.