Constellation buys 40% of Ruffino

A month after its purchase of the Robert Mondavi Corporation, drinks giant Constellation Brands has just bought 40% of Tuscan Chianti icon Ruffino for approximately US$80m.

The Folonari family, owners of Ruffino since 1913, retains the majority interest as well as management of the company while Investindustrial, which bought 44% of Ruffino in 2002, will retain a minority interest.

Ruffino president Marco Folonari said that as far as the day to day management was concerned, nothing had actually changed. ‘Our Tuscan estates and vineyards remain in the family, as well as our Friuli property Borgo Conventi,’ he said.

Franciscan Estates, one of the fine wine divisions of Constellation Brands, will oversee distribution of Ruffino in the United States, considered its most important market.

Franciscan CEO Jon Moramarco said he is convinced the move will be beneficial both to Constellation and Ruffino.

‘The wine brands and rich heritage of Ruffino give us a much-desired place in the attractive Italian premium wine category, and we look forward to expanding the Ruffino brand’s distribution, image and prestige’.

Constellation’s recent acquisition of Robert Mondavi Corporation for US $1.36bn also makes it part owner, with the Frescobaldi family, of two Super Tuscan brands, Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia and Luce della Vita.

Written by Kerin O’Keefe

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