04/09/2013 09:13 BST

Lord Ashcroft Buys English Wine Maker Gusborne Estate In £7m Deal

Britain's Conservative Party Deputy Chairman Lord Michael Ashcroft is seen at the Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester, England, Monday Oct. 5, 2009. Britain's Conservative Party is holding its last annual conference before next year's national election, which polls show is all but certain to put the party back in power after more than a decade. (AP Photo/Jon Super).

Lord Ashcroft has broken into the English sparkling wine market after completing a £7m deal to buy Gusborne Estate, a Kent vineyard which was developed to produce the champagne-style wine.

Ashcroft's wine investment vehicle Shellproof will take a near two-thirds stake in the new wine venture, Gusborne, which will float on the Alternative Investment Market in order to raise £2.85m as part of the deal.

Shellproof investors including the Tory peer will take more shares in the process.

The Gusborne venture in Kent aims to capitalise on a rising demand for still and sparking English wines.

Lord Ashcroft was a major Tory donor and former party treasurer who stepped down as deputy chairman in 2010. More recently, Lord Ashcroft has focused on his polls and electoral research.

Announcing the news on Twitter, Lord Ashcroft asked whether he was "wise or foolish?" to make such an investment.