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A vineyard owned by Lord Ashcroft has been given a £2m government loan to develop its English sparkling wine.
Gusbourne will use the cash from the Funding for Lending Scheme to improve and expand its winery in Appledore on Romney Marsh.
In September, Lord Ashcroft’s company Shellproof took over the estate in a £7m deal, renaming itself Gusbourne in the process.
The Tory peer, who owns a 64% stake in the firm, has headed companies employing more than 100,000 people during his career.
He has negotiated several major deals, including the sale of ADT to Tyco International for more than $6.7bn (£3.7bn) in 1997.
Gusbourne aims to be producing 500,000 bottles of still and sparkling wine within 11 years.
The 143 hectare estate includes 20 hectares under vine cultivation with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes.
These vine plantings were started 10 years ago in 2003. Further expansion of these vineyards is now underway.
The site’s south facing slopes, dry local microclimate and clay and sandy loam soils give it ideal growing conditions for grapes.
Gusbourne chief executive Ben Walgate said: “We are delighted to be able to expand and further develop the Gusbourne Estate business which has already achieved great success with its wines.
“We see further market growth opportunity for the company’s premium English still and sparkling wine products both domestically and internationally.
“The expansion of the business at Gusbourne Estate will involve further vineyard plantings as well as an enlarged winery and visitor centre to attract the growing interest in wine tourism.
“We are very proud to be part of the Kent community and will remain closely involved with it as the business expands.”
Gusbourne Estate has won numerous awards since it started selling wine in 2010.
In November, it won two awards from the International Wine and Spirits Competition for English Wine Producer of the Year and Best Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine.
The £2m loan was obtained from Barclays.
The bank’s relationship director Kevin Moule said: “Over the last few years, Gusbourne Estate has developed a strong reputation for producing quality wines, winning many international awards.
“This expansion and investment will increase production, create new jobs, attract visitors to the area and allow the wines to be more widely available.”
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