VICTOR, N.Y., Sept. 10, 2010 – Constellation Brands, Inc., the world’s leading wine company, announced today the company has closed the sale of the historic Widmer Winery in Naples, N.Y., to L & D Acquisitions, LLC (L & D). The principals in L & D are members of the Hazlitt family, who are grape and wine producers for Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Inc. (Hazlitt), located in Hector, N.Y. The successful conclusion of the transaction was the result of the collaborative efforts between Constellation, L & D, members of the Hazlitt family, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Ontario County Office of Economic Development, the Ontario County Industrial Development Agency, the town and village of Naples and the Naples school district. Constellation will lease back the Widmer facility through the end of the year and provide custom grape crushing and winemaking services for L & D for the 2010 harvest. L&D will have full operational control of the winery by Jan. 1, 2011.
L & D intends to utilize the Widmer facility to produce products for Hazlitt’s, among others, including core Hazlitt brands of Red Cat, White Cat, Cabin Fever and Bramble Berry. L & D expects to employ more than 21 people within the next 24 months. L & D’s plan also includes extensive renovation and upgrading of the winemaking facility and the redesign of the historic Widmer tasting room. Further, L&D plans to offer custom crush, winemaking, and warehousing services as well.
Constellation’s $7.1 million expansion of its Canandaigua Winery to accommodate the transfer of production of its brands produced at the Widmer Winery is planned for completion in November with products available for shipping Dec. 1, 2010. The company anticipates that the expanded Canandaigua facility will produce approximately 20 percent of all wine made at Constellation’s U.S. wineries.
It should be noted that in addition to their leadership and assistance with public meetings, the town of Naples sponsored Hazlitt in seeking Community Development Block Grant funding through the state Office of Community Renewal (OCR). OCR has approved $250,000 in funding to assist with the project.
About Constellation Brands
Constellation Brands is the world’s leading wine company that achieves success through an unmatched knowledge of wine consumers, storied brands that suit varied lives and tastes, and talented employees worldwide. With a broad portfolio of widely admired premium products across the wine, beer and spirits categories, Constellation’s brand portfolio includes Robert Mondavi, Hardys, Clos du Bois, Blackstone, Arbor Mist, Estancia, Ravenswood, Jackson-Triggs, Kim Crawford, Corona Extra, Black Velvet Canadian Whisky and SVEDKA Vodka.
Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B; ASX: CBR) is an S&P 500 Index and Fortune 1000® company with more than 100 brands in our portfolio, sales in about 150 countries and operations at more than 40 facilities. The company believes that industry leadership involves a commitment to our brands, to the trade, to the land, to investors and to different people around the world who turn to our products when celebrating big moments or enjoying quiet ones. We express this commitment through our vision: to elevate life with every glass raised. To learn more about Constellation, visit the company's web site at www.cbrands.com.
About Hazlitt’s 1852 Vineyards
The Hazlitt family has been growing superb grapes on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, N.Y. for over 150 years. Established in 1984, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards continues the family tradition of award-winning viticulture and wine production. Its internationally-renowned wines include Riesling, Homestead Reserve Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabin Fever, White Stag, Schooner Red, Spyder Bite and Bramble Berry. Most notably, Hazlitt is infamous for its Red Cat and White Cat – two of the most popular and best-selling New York State wines available. For more information, please visit: www.Hazlitt1852.com or www.redcatwine.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements. The words “anticipate,” “intend,” and “ expect” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. As to Constellation and/or Hazlitt, these statements may relate to business strategy, future operations, prospects, plans and objectives of management, as well as information concerning expected actions of third parties. All forward-looking statements involve risks and unc