Our Heritage

1945

Canandaigua Industries Company founded

At the age of 21, Marvin Sands forms the Canandaigua Industries Company. With only eight employees, his strategy is to sell bulk wine in barrels to bottlers in the East. In this first year, the company sells approximately 200,000 gallons of wine and has gross sales of $150,000.

1948

MOTHER VINEYARD AND ONSLOW WINE COMPANIES PURCHASED

The Mother Vineyard Company and Onslow Wine Company, both in North Carolina, are purchased. Both wineries produce Scuppernong Wine, a varietal wine produced from indigenous grapes and very popular in the South.

1951

Business Growth

Canandaigua Industries posts profits of $1 million.

Richard's Wine Cellars opens in Petersburg, Virginia, with Mack Sands in charge of operations.

1954

RICHARD'S WILD IRISH ROSE BRAND LAUNCHED

The introduction of the Richard's Wild Irish Rose brand spearheads the growth of the company, with bottling taking place at five locations in the U.S. This unique franchising system helps the brand grow rapidly, allowing Canandaigua Industries to develop its own wine production facilities to meet the explosive demand for Wild Irish Rose.

1961

Gross Sales Double

Canandaigua Industries doubles its gross sales from $4 million to $8 million in just two years.

1965

Tenner Brothers and Virginia Dare

The Tenner Brothers Winery in South Carolina is purchased, and the Virginia Dare label joins the family on a royalty basis.

1969

Hammondsport Wine Company Purchased

The Hammondsport Wine Company, in the Finger Lakes, is added to the growing list of facilities, giving the company a foothold in the sparkling wine market.

1972

Acquisition of Eastern Wine Company

The Eastern Wine Company in New York is purchased and its famous label Chateau Martin joins the Canandaigua Wine Company portfolio.

1973

COMPANY NAME CHANGE

The company changes its name to Canandaigua Wine Company, Inc. in late 1972 and goes public in 1973.

1974

Bisceglia Wine Company Acquired

A number of brand acquisitions in the 1970s continues to fuel the company's growth, and in 1974 the company heads west to acquire the Bisceglia Brothers Winery in Madera, California.

1979

Richard Sands joins the company

Richard Sands joins the company, starting in the winemaking lab and then moving throughout the company's operations and departments.

 

J. ROGET CHAMPAGNE

J. Roget Champagne is launched and becomes the second-largest selling champagne brand in the U.S.

1980

Net Sales Growth

Canandaigua Wine Company becomes the eighth-largest U.S. wine producer with net sales reaching $50.5 million.

1984

Sun Country Wine Coolers Created

Sun Country Cooler is created and rolled out nationwide. Thanks to a tremendous effort from employees, the brand sells 1 million cases within six months.

1986

New Faces

Rob Sands joins the company as general counsel.

1987

Widmer Wine Cellars and Manischewitz Wine Co. Acquired

Widmer Wine Cellars in Naples, New York, and the Manischewitz brand assets of the Monarch Wine Company in Brooklyn are purchased. Production of the Manischewitz brand is moved to Widmer, as are a number of wines formerly produced at the Taylor Wine Company in Hammondsport, New York.
 

1990

New Additions

Italian Swiss Colony dessert wines and the Jacques Bonet line of sparkling wines are added to the portfolio.

1991

Guild Wineries and Distilleries Acquired

The company acquires all the assets and certain liabilities of Guild Wineries, a California-based cooperative owned and managed by grape growers in the region. At the time of the acquisition, Guild represents the nation's seventh-largest wine producer. The purchase includes the Cribari, Dunnewood and Cook's brands.

1992

Company Sales Increase

Canandaigua Wine Company hits fiscal net sales of $245 million.

1993

Acquisition of Barton Incorporated and Vintners International Company, Inc.

With the addition of Barton Incorporated, Canandaigua Wine Company further diversifies into the imported beer and distilled spirits categories. The Barton Beer portfolio includes the popular Mexican import Corona, now the best-selling imported beer in the U.S., along with Peroni, St. Pauli Girl and Tsingtao. The Barton Brands portfolio included Barton Gin & Vodka, Ten High Bourbon Whiskey and Montezuma Tequila. The acquisition of certain assets of Vintners gives the company the Paul Masson, Taylor California Cellars, Great Western and Taylor brands.

 

RICHARD SANDS BECOMES CEO

Richard Sands becomes the new chief executive officer of the company.

1994

Almaden and Inglenook Brands Purchased

The purchase of the Mission Bell Winery in California includes the Almaden and Inglenook wine brands and a grape juice concentrate business.

1995

United Distillers Glenmore Acquired

The acquisition of certain assets of United Distillers Glenmore gives the company a significant presence in the cordial and liqueur category with the addition of brands like Mr. Boston, Canadian LTD, Skol, Old Thompson, Kentucky Tavern, Glenmore, di Amore, Fleischmann's, Chi Chi's and Schenley.

1997

Canandaigua Brands, Inc. Formed

Canandaigua Brands, Inc. is formed as the parent company of Canandaigua Wine Company and Barton Incorporated, following a decade of acquisitions resulting in a diversified product portfolio expanding beyond the wine business. Net sales reach
$1.1 billion.

1998

Matthew Clark Acquired

Matthew Clark, plc, one of the U.K.'s leading producers of British wines, cider and bottled waters is acquired. This expands the company's portfolio to include K Cider, Blackthorn Cider, QC Sherry (the No. 1 Fortified British wine) and Stowells of Chelsea, the leading boxed wine in the U.K.

 

ARBOR MIST LAUNCHED

The launch of Arbor Mist results in the creation of a new wine category - "Wine With Fruit.” It is one of the most successful product launches in the company's history, shipping more than 1 million cases in its first 100 days of distribution.

1999

Company Founder Passes Away

Company founder Marvin Sands passes away following a brief illness.

 

NEW WHISKY ACQUIRED

A number of Canadian whisky brands are acquired, including Black Velvet, the No. 3 Canadian whisky brand at the time.

 

PURCHASE OF SIMI WINERY AND FRANCISCAN VINEYARDS

The purchase of the properties and portfolios creates a fourth division of Canandaigua Brands, Inc. - the Fine Wine Division. Brands in the acquisition include Estancia, Franciscan, Mount Veeder, Veramonte and Simi.

2000

Company Changes Name to Constellation Brands, Inc.

Canandaigua Brands, Inc. changes its name to Constellation Brands, Inc. to better reflect the scope of the company and its broad range of brands that satisfy a wide range of consumer preferences.

 

FORTH WINES LIMITED

Constellation’s Matthew Clark division acquires Forth Wines Limited, a wine and spirits wholesaler operated primarily in Scotland.

2001

Ravenswood acquisition

Ravenswood, the best-selling premium zinfandel in the U.S., is acquired, making Franciscan Estates one of the most sought-after wine portfolios in the industry.

 

PACIFIC WINE PARTNERS FORMED

The formation of Pacific Wine Partners creates a joint venture shared by BRL Hardy and Constellation with distribution rights for Banrock Station, Hardys, Leasingham, Barossa Valley Estate, Chateau Reynella, Nobilo and La Baume. Certain assets of Blackstone Winery are also acquired.


TURNER ROAD VINTNERS AND CORUS BRANDS PURCHASED

These acquisitions strengthen Constellation's popular and premium wine portfolio. The Talus, Vendange, Nathanson Creek and Heritage brands from Turner Road Vintners and the Columbia, Covey Run and Alice White brands from Corus Brands give the company 20 of the top 100 wine brands in the U.S.

2002

CONSTELLATION RECEIVES RECOGNITION

The Beverage Forum names Constellation “Large Beverage Company of the Year” for its solid growth in all areas of the beverage alcohol business.

 

CONSTELLATION INTERNATIONAL FORMED

Constellation International, based in the U.K., is formed to coordinate most export activities and increase worldwide consumer access to Constellation products.

2003

Constellation Completes Acquisition of BRL Hardy Ltd.

Pacific Wine Partners, a 50/50 joint venture of Constellation and BRL Hardy, becomes a wholly owned subsidiary and the Australian arm of the business, which accounts for 25% of the domestic Australian market and exports to more than 60 countries, is renamed Hardy Wine Co. With the acquisition, Constellation becomes the world's largest producer and marketer of wine, and the first truly international wine company with annual sales in excess of 80 million cases of wine annually.

 

NEW ZEALAND BUSINESS ADDED

Constellation Brands, Inc. adds new New Zealand business to the company.

2004

ROBERT MONDAVI ACQUIRED

Constellation acquires the Robert Mondavi Corp. for $1.03 billion, adding some of the most respected premium and super-premium wines in the world to its portfolio.

 

RUFFINO ADDED TO PORTFOLIO

Constellation purchases 40% of Ruffino, further enhancing the company's portfolio of fine European wines.

 

EFFEN VODKA

Effen Vodka, a luxury import from Holland, is added to Constellation's spirits portfolio.

2005

Project Genome Completed

Constellation embarks on “Project Genome,” the largest study on wine consumers ever, to help better understand the profiles of wine consumers in order to market and develop wines targeted to their lifestyles.

 

REX GOLIATH ACQUISITION COMPLETED

Constellation completes the acquisition of the Rex Goliath wine brand from California's Hahn Estates.

 

CONSTELLATION JOINS S&P 500 INDEX

Standard & Poor's adds Constellation Brands to its S&P 500 Index of companies. The listing attests to the success of the company’s growth strategy and increased stockholder value.

 

RICHARD SANDS TOPS DECANTER'S POWER LIST
Richard Sands is named No. 1 on Decanter's Power List of the top 50 people influencing wine styles today.

 

CONSTELLATION SELLS ARROWOOD AND BYRON

Constellation sells the Arrowood Vineyards & Winery and the Byron Vineyard & Winery, both part of the 2004 Robert Mondavi acquisition, to the Legacy Estates Group.

 

GLOBAL CODE OF RESPONSIBLE PRACTICES FOR ADVERTISING AND MARKETING ADOPTED

Constellation adopts a Global Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing. The Code covers brand advertising, consumer communications, trade advertising, promotional events, packaging, labels, distribution and sales material, and product placements.

  

EXCLUSIVE U.S. IMPORTER OF CERTAIN BPR BRANDS

Constellation becomes the exclusive U.S. importer of Mouton Cadet and several other Baron Philippe de Rothschild brands.

2006

Plans for National Distribution Center in U.K. Announced

Constellation Europe announces plans to add a second National Distribution Center at Bristol, England. The new warehouse and wine bottling complex, named Constellation Park, consolidated numerous satellite warehouses, created significant operational synergies and reduced Constellation Europe's carbon footprint. It became fully operational in 2009.

 

CROWN IMPORTS JOINT VENTURE ANNOUNCED
Grupo Modelo and Constellation Brands create a joint venture to import and market Modelo's Mexican beer portfolio into the United States and Guam for a 10-year period, effective January 2, 2007.

 

CONSTELLATION MARVIN SANDS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER OPENS

The Constellation Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua, New York, named for Constellation's founder, opens after a $13 million renovation.

 

VINCOR INTERNATIONAL ACQUISITION COMPLETED

The acquisition of Canadian wine company Vincor International for $1.3 billion is completed. Included are Canada's biggest wine brand, Jackson-Triggs, and Inniskillin, a premier international icewine. With the purchase, Canada becomes Constellations fifth core market (with the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand). Constellation inherits Vincor's position as Canada's largest wine producer and marketer (Vincor had been the world's eighth largest wine company).

 

STRATHMORE SOLD TO A.G. BARR

The Strathmore bottled water business is sold to A.G. Barr, a U.K. soft drinks business. Strathmore is seen as a non-core part of Constellation's beverage alcohol portfolio.

2007

BEAM WINE ESTATES ACQUIRED

Constellation announces the acquisition of Beam Wine Estates, the U.S. wine business of Fortune Brands. Brands in the portfolio inlude Clos du Bois, Wild Horse, Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak, Buena Vista and Gary Farrell.

 

CORONA SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCED

Corona announces an exclusive, long-term sponsorship of the Kenny Chesney tour.

 

ROB SANDS NAMED NEW CEO

Rob Sands is named Constellation's new CEO, and retains the title of president. Richard Sands continues his role as chairman of the board.

 

PUNCH TAVERNS JOINT VENTURE ANNOUNCED
The formation of Constellation's joint venture with Punch Taverns is announced. Constellation Europe and Punch Taverns, the U.K.'s largest pub chain, each become 50 percent owners of the Matthew Clark wholesale business, which Constellation acquired in 1998.

 

MOST ADMIRED COMPANIES LIST

Constellation is named to Fortune magazine's 25th annual Most Admired Companies list, ranking 5th in the beverage category.

 

SVEDKA VODKA ACQUIRED
Constellation completes its acquisition of Spirits Marque One, which owns SVEDKA Vodka. SVEDKA, an 80-proof premium vodka produced in Sweden, was launched in 1998. For the five-year period ending in 2007, SVEDKA was the fastest-growing major premium spirits brand in the world.

 

CROWN IMPORTS JOINT VENTURE FORMED
Crown Imports, Constellation's 50/50 joint venture with Grupo Modelo, officially launches. The venture imports and markets Modelo's premium Mexican beer portfolio, along with imported brands St. Pauli Girl and Tsingtao, to the U.S. and Guam for renewable 10-year periods. Corona Extra is the top-selling imported beer in the U.S. and Crown is the top beer import company.

2008

Sale of Certain U.S. Wine Assets Announced

Constellation announces the sale of certain U.S. wine assets to a California-based private firm. The sale, which includes the brands Geyser Peak, Buena Vista, Gary Farrell, Atlas Peak and XYZin in California, Columbia Winery and Covey Run in Washington, and Ste. Chapelle in Idaho, allows Constellation to focus on key growth brands and reduce brand duplication and excess production capacity.

 

ALMADEN AND INGLENOOK BRANDS DIVESTED
In an ongoing effort to focus on its premium wine offerings in the U.S., Constellation enters into an agreement to sell the Almaden and Inglenook wine brands to The Wine Group LLC. The sale is completed on February 28, 2008.

 

REMAINING INTEREST IN PLANET 10 SPIRITS ACQUIRED
Constellation's Chicago-based spirits company, Barton Brands, acquires the remaining 50 percent equity stake in its Planet 10 Spirits joint venture. Planet 10 Spirits, formed in 2004, develops and markets premium spirits brands such as Effen Vodka.

2009

WINE ENTHUSIAST MAGAZINE MAN OF THE YEAR

Rob Sands named Man of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine on January 26, 2009.

 

NEW U.S. DISTRIBUTOR AGREEMENT ANNOUNCED

Constellation announces a new U.S. distributor agreement, creating a number of benefits for Constellation, its distributors and its customers.

 

SALE OF VALUE SPIRITS BUSINESS

Constellation completes the sale of its value spirits business and increases its focus on higher-margin, mid-premium spirits brands.

 

MAJOR SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION COMPLETED

One of the world’s largest winery solar panel installations is completed at the Gonzales Winery in California.

2010

California Solar Energy Initiative Expected to Produce Most Solar Energy in U.S. Wine Industry

Constellation announced a major expansion of its solar energy initiative by investing in three new solar energy installations at our Clos du Bois, Ravenswood, and Estancia wineries.

 

CIDER BUSINESS SALE COMPLETE

Constellation completes the sale of its U.K. cider business.

2011

Constellation Purchases Remaining Portion of Iconic Ruffino Wine Business

Constellation purchases the remaining 50.1 percent of Ruffino S.r.l. Constellation now fully owns the iconic Ruffino brand and historical production facility located in close proximity to Florence. The wines continue to be produced on approximately 600 hectares of prestigious vineyards at the same Tuscan Estates of Ruffino as has been done for decades. 

 

COMPANY SELLS AUSTRALIA AND U.K. BUSINESS

Constellation completes the sale of its Australian and U.K. business. The company does retain a 20% interest in the business.

 

NEW BRANDS LAUNCHED

Constellation successfully launches four new brands in 2011- The Dreaming Tree, Simply Naked, Primal Roots and Rioja Vega.

2012

Supplier of the Year Award Two Years Running

Constellation received the Supplier of the Year Award for Best Large Wine Company from the Cheers Beverage Group for the second year in a row. Constellation also receives the Supplier Excellence and Supplier of the Year Award.

 

ARBOR MIST CONTINUES TO INNOVATE

Arbor Mist introduces frozen wine cocktails in single-serve, 10-ounce pouches.

2013

Constellation Completes Acquisition of Grupo Modelo's U.S. Business

Constellation completes acquisition of Grupo Modelo’s U.S. beer business from Anheuser-Busch InBev for approximately $4.75 billion. The transaction includes full ownership of Crown Imports LLC which provides Constellation with complete, independent control of all aspects of the U.S. commercial business; a state-of-the-art brewery in Nava (Piedras Negras), Mexico; exclusive perpetual brand license in the U.S. to import, market and sell Corona and the Modelo brands Crown currently sells and the freedom to develop brand extensions and innovations for the U.S. market.

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