Lord Ashcroft buys Gusbourne Estate
Shellproof, the company established by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft, has bought the Gusbourne Estate winery. The English sparkling wine producer was only established in 2010 and has become a prominent and successful brand, selling in restaurants such as The Fat Duck and stocked by Berry Bros among others.
This latest development is a reverse takeover, meaning that Shellproof will acquire Gusbourne and take its name, becoming Gusbourne PLC. Andrew Weeber, who established Gusbourne in 2004, will remain in overall charge as non-executive chairman.
With this move, Gusbourne jumps from 50 acres (20 ha) of its own Kentish vines to over 100, thanks to Shellproof's West Sussex plantings. With further plantings planned imminently, a total of 205 acres (83 ha) is being aimed for, with a top production capacity forecast to be 500,000 bottles annually.