Martin Krajewski, owner and chief executive officer of Chateau de Sours in Bordeaux, gave the college the donation, which was doubled through the Government-matched funding scheme. This enabled the appointment of Dr Belinda Kemp as a full-time lecturer and research coordinator in wine.
Chris Foss, head of Plumpton's wine department, commented: "This is a great boost for our research programme and will make a tremendous difference to the UK wine industry, which is growing in leaps and bounds."
Kemp graduated from Plumpton with a degree in viticulture and oenology. She then worked at Nyetimber estate before completing her PhD on the effects of vine leaf removal on fruit ripening at Lincoln University in New Zealand.
Her new appointment will also involve the management of current research collaborations with Jon Danielewicz, an expert on oxidation in wine, and Professor Richard Marchal of the University of Reims.
Kemp will also establish new research links with colleagues at the Faculty of Science and Engineering in the University of Brighton, of which Plumpton College is part.
Other industry collaborations are planned for the future with both UK and international companies, while further private funding will enable the sponsorship of MSc and PhD students who are completing front-line research projects at Plumpton.
Martin Krajewski said: "Plumpton is just starting out but it is already doing excellent research work and we are very proud to support them"
Earlier this year, the college boosted its role with its Wineskills scheme - a package of workshops, mentoring and masterclasses for those already working in the sector.Topics range from vine establishment to pest and disease control and pruning.