Constellation Brands announced a surge in wine sales of 47% at the end of last year – the fruit of the merger last year with Australian wine giant BRL Hardy.

While analysts pointed out that without the addition of the Hardy results, net sales were only up 11%, there was widespread satisfaction at the third-quarter results, which saw combined wine, beer and spirits also leaping, by 34% to US$987m.

Wine sales alone went up to US$681m (47%), and overall the company showed a net profit rise of 29%.

Stephen Millar, chief executive of NewYork-based Constellation, now the world’s largest wine company, said he was pleased at the way the integration of Hardy’s had gone.

‘What was very pleasing about it is, the operating philosophy of Constellation is vey similar to the operating philosophy of Hardy Wine Company – it is a decentralised approach to business,’ he told Melbourne daily newspaper The Age.

‘When you have a decentralised approach you have a lot less integration issues than you do if you are running a centralised business.’

Written by Adam Lechmere and agencies