Lord Ashcroft unveils a sparkling ambition
Thursday 11 October 2012
The Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft has unveiled plans to become one of the largest producers of English sparkling wine. He wants to buy up 150 acres of prime English vineyards in West Sussex with the aim of producing 400,000 bottles a year.
Shellproof, an Aim-listed cash shell registered in Belize, is merging with a new company, Shellproof plc, which will be registered in the UK.
Lord Ashcroft owns 76 per cent of the company, which is currently run by three members of his Belize Bank Holdings.
Shellproof has already bought its first vineyard for just under the recent asking price of £385,000, and has another £4m-plus of cash to spend on further vineyards and constructing its own winery.
The Halnaker vineyard comprises 13 acres, with 10 acres already planted with mature vines. The company has also agreed to take grapes from a further 27 acres of tenanted vineyards and wants to add another 110 acres of vines.
Shellproof said that about 1.4 million bottles of English sparkling wine were sold in the UK last year, so 400,000 bottles would place it among the largest producers.
The news came as Nyetimber, one of the most sucessful UK winemakers, said it will not harvest this year's crop because of low quality and volumes of grapes after appalling summer weather.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Iraq crisis: Government forces execute 255 Sunni prisoners in revenge for Isis atrocities, says report
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
iJobs Money & Business
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...