You might say the company is the pathfinder star for a giant in the beverage business. Constellation Wines U.S. (CWUS) oversees the domestic winemaking operations of its parent, New York-based Constellation Brands. No matter the state of your pocketbook or degree of wine connoisseurship, CWUS offers a complete range of US-made vintages. They include super-premium and luxury wines (Estancia, Inniskillin, Robert Mondavi Winery, Simi, and Wild Horse), premium wines (Blackstone, Woodbridge), emerging wines (Barossa, Red Guitar), and specialty and value wines (Arbor Mist, Cook's, Wild Irish Rose, Vendange). CWUS operates 18 wineries and production facilities, most of which are in California.
New York-based Constellation Wines U.S. operates 16 wineries and production facilities in California, and one each in New York and Washington. The company's largest wineries are the Woodbridge Winery in Acampo and the Mission Bell Winery in Madera, both in California.
Sales and Marketing
CWUS sells its wines through wholesalers, retailers, as well as state and provincial alcoholic beverage control agencies.
The company is pursuing a strategy focusing on premium and above wines. To that end, it sold its Inglenook, Paul Masson, and Almenden operations to The Wine Group for $134 million in cash in 2009. Constellation used the funds to pay down debt so that it could better concentrate on premium wine -- which it did with that year's final integration of the operations of Clos du Bois, the #1 superpremium US wine brand, as well as the luxury brand, Wild Horse. (Both labels were acquired from Fortune Brands in 2007.)
In a move to increase efficiencies, the winemaker has consolidated its distribution in key markets, signing multiyear agreements with large US beverage distributors Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits, Republic National Distributing Company, National Wine & Spirits, and Johnson Brothers Liquor Company.
Mergers and Acquisitions
To fill a gap in its portfolio of pinot noir brands, Constellation Brands in 2012 acquired the Mark West wine brand from Purple Wine Company for about $160 million. In 2011 the company acquired the remaining 50.1% of Ruffino S.r.l., making Ruffino a wholly owned business.