Lord Ashcroft has acquired an award-winning vineyard in a deal worth £7 million.
Gusbourne Estate, in Appledore, is planning to list on the London Stock Exchange and says the move will allow further expansion and lead to more jobs.
Ashcroft’s company Shellproof, in which he owns a 64% stake, will be renamed Gusbourne PLC.
Gusbourne Estate’s 58 acres of vines will be increased to 200 acres with the inclusion of Shellproof’s Halnaker vineyard and sites in West Sussex.
The vineyard was established nine years ago and earlier this year, won gold awards at three different competitions.
It plans to join the AIM market of the Stock Exchange, which is a market for smaller companies.
Owner and founder Andrew Weeber will remain as chairman.
Plans include the development of an additional 100 acres of vineyards in the next two years, the construction of a new winery and a visitor centre.
The vineyard will ultimately produce more than 500,000 bottles a year and employ 16 people and over 100 seasonal pickers.
Mr Weeber said: “Our recent successes demonstrate the huge potential of the Gusbourne brand and I am very excited to be embarking on a new phase of business development and expansion.
“I believe the prospects for the Gusbourne product range in the context of the growing market for English sparkling and still wines are excellent.”
The listing is expected to be completed on Friday, September 27.