Constellation Brands

Constellation Brands is one of the world's largest wine companies, based in Victor, New York state in the US, with annual sales of US$2.79bn in its last fiscal year.

The publicly-listed company traces its roots back to 1945, when Marvin Sands formed Canandaigua Industries Company and began selling bulk wine. The firm became Constellation Brands in 2000, and proceeded to pursue large-scale acquisitions more aggressively. In 2001, it bought leading US Zinfandel producer Ravenswood , and followed this up by acquiring Turner Road Vintners in the same year.

In 2003, the group bought full control Australia's largest producer, BRL Hardy , for A$1.9bn. It then bought Robert Mondavi for US$1bn in 2004, while also taking a 40% stake in Italian winemaker Ruffino and acquiring Effen vodka. In 2005, it became the exclusive importer of Mouton Cadet . However, by the time Constellation bought Canada's Vincor in 2006, some market commentators criticised the group for relying on bolt-on deals to lift sales.

Recent years have marked Constellation's retreat from the international business, encapsulated by its deal to sell 80% of its Europe and Australia business, including Hardys, to Champ Private Equity at the end of 2010.

Today, the group is focused on building premium wine sales in North America, and its brand stable includes Kim Crawford, Clos du Bois, Ravenswood, Mondavi and, most recently, Mark West. It also owns the Crown Imports beer business, which distributes Corona in the US.

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