The Decanter Power List 2013
6 Robert Sands (5)
Chairman, Constellation Brands, 55
The byzant ine complexity of Constellation – owner of Robert Mondavi Winery and Ravenswood among others – makes assessment difficult. But as of April 2013, Wall Street was optimistic about what was once the world’s largest wine company, now second after Gallo (see p28). Sales have risen by 11% to $696m, and the share price has risen by almost 40% since January. Constellation has a prized portfolio – plus 20% of Accolade, the legacy of the sell-off of its Australian and South African brands, Hardys, Kumala and the rest. It farms 5,000ha of vines and, it revealed last year, has 50 new brands on the launchpad, and is spending more than US$10m (20% of its marketing budget) on digital marketing. Perhaps the biggest boost to its fortunes is the purchase of the Mexican Modelo beer portfolio, makers of Corona, for almost US$5bn. This, Sands said, is ‘the most transformational in the history of the company’, making Constellation America’s third-largest brewer, with comcomitant extra cash flow of US$1bn. Once the dust has settled, Sands has promised he will be ‘in the takeover market’. Expect interesting developments in the wine division.