Constellation Brands Ramps Up Distillery, Winery Acquisitions


VICTOR, N.Y. — While completing the previously announced acquisition of a Utah distillery, Constellation Brands last month announced its acquisition of a minority share in a new Kentucky distiller and a Washington state winery.

Constellation completed its acquisition of Utah’s High West Distillery, which includes all of High West’s operations and its portfolio of high-end American straight whiskeys. The company also recently acquired a minority stake in Bardstown Bourbon Co. in Bardstown, Ky.

“Investing in Bardstown, the largest new whiskey distillery in the U.S., jumpstarts our opportunity to further explore innovation in the brown spirits category,” said Rob Sands, president and chief executive officer of Constellation Brands. “With the acquisition of High West and the opportunity to work with Bardstown Bourbon Co., we are strategically advancing our spirits business with access to high-quality supply and state-of the-art production capabilities.”

Further enhancing its U.S. wine portfolio, Constellation is spending about $120 million to acquire the Charles Smith Wines collection, which includes Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Velvet Devil Merlot, Boom Boom! Syrah, Eve Chardonnay and Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon. With this acquisition, Constellation Brands will solidify its position as the second leading supplier of Washington state wines.

Additionally, Constellation announced it has reached an agreement to sell its Canadian wine business to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The transaction includes Canadian wine brands such as Jackson-Triggs and Inniskillin, wineries, vineyards, offices, facilities and Wine Rack retail stores. Constellation Brands will continue ownership of Black Velvet whisky and the related production facility in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

“In April, we announced plans to explore an initial public offering for a portion of our Canadian wine business as part of our strategy to focus on premium, high margin and high growth brands. We seized the opportunity to sell the entire business in a value enhancing transaction when it presented itself,” Sands said.

Vintage Wine Estates Purchases Delectus

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (PRNewswire) — Vintage Wine Estates recently announced the purchase of Delectus Winery.

Delectus, located in St. Helena, Calif., has built a reputation for acclaimed wines since its founding in 1995. The four flagship Cabernet Sauvignons from the most recent 2013 vintage received scores of 94 points and above.

Delectus winemaker Chris Phelps has been appointed consulting winemaker, while founder Linda Butler will continue to lead Delectus hospitality, trade, media and private tastings, winery events and the wine club.

“We have tremendous admiration for Chris Phelps’ wines and are thrilled he has agreed to assume the consulting winemaking role for Delectus,” said Pat Roney, president and CEO of Vintage Wine Estates. “He is among the top red Bordeaux specialists in the world and will continue the Delectus legacy of producing the finest Napa Valley wines.”

Sill Family Acquires Ardente Estate Winery

ST. HELENA, Calif. (PRNewswire) — Sill Family Vineyards recently completed the purchase of the Ardente Estate Winery.

The 24.4-acre property is located in Napa’s Atlas Peak AVA.

“Our purchase of Ardente Estate Winery, with its great mountain wines and incredible history, will provide our customers with old world style, exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux-style wines,” said Igor Sill, vintner and winemaker at Sill Family Vineyards.

Sill Family Vineyards is a family-owned and operated vineyard producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Rose wines.