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Constellation Brands keeps quiet on wine sale rumours

Constellation Brands, owner of Robert Mondavi wines, has reportedly started an auction for its Canadian wine division that currently includes award-winning Inniskillin.

Investment advisors working on Constellation Brands‘ behalf have begun soliciting offers for the group’s Canadian wine business, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal this week citing ‘people familiar with the matter’.

A spokesperson for Constellation refused to comment specifically on the report when contacted by Decanter.com.

‘We are constantly evaluating opportunities to further our business strategies to generate growth and maximise shareholder value,’ the spokesperson said.

‘However, we do not have any news to share related to our business in Canada.’

A sell-off could include award-winning Canadian winery Inniskillin.

Constellation bought leading Canadian wine group Vincor in 2006 in a deal worth nearly 1.6 billion Canadian dollars.

But, Constellation has spent several years re-positioning its business around premium wine and beer in the US after a period of pursuing bolt-on wine acquisitions around the world.

Beer now makes up more than 50% of net sales at Constellation, which alongside Mondavi still owns many wine brands in the US, including Ravenswood and Kim Crawford.

One of its best performing wines in the past year has been start-up label Meiomi, which Constellation bought in August 2015.

Constellation’s net wine sales for the six months to the end of August 2016 reached US$1.35 billion, up 11% on the same period of last year.

Meiomi accounted for $52.5 million of sales in the period, show Constellation half-year results released this week.

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