Richard Sands

Chairman of the Board


University of Vermont, bachelor’s degree, psychology, 1974
University of North Carolina, master’s degree & doctorate, social psychology, 1979


Richard Sands is Constellation’s chairman of the board. Richard is responsible for providing strategic leadership, working with the board of directors and the president to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies.

Richard has been with Constellation in various capacities since 1979. He was elected Chairman of the Board in September 1999. He served as Chief Executive Officer from October 1993 to July 2007; as President from May 1986 to December 2002; as Chief Operating Officer from May 1986 to October 1993; and as Executive Vice President from 1982 to May 1986.  

Richard serves as Chairman for the Education Success Network, Friends of CMAC, and of the F-CMAC Executive Committee. He serves on RIT and University of Rochester’s Board of Trustees. Richard serves as treasurer and board member for the local non-for-profit Canandaigua Area Development Corporation, and acts as a trusted advisor to BCG consulting on the Finger Lakes Regional Council’s poverty initiatives.

Constellation Brands, a Fortune 500® company, is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, Italy and Canada. Constellation is the No.3 beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra and Pacifico. The company’s beer portfolio also includes Ballast Point, one of the most awarded craft brewers in the U.S., and Funky Buddha Brewery. In addition, Constellation is the world leader in premium wine, selling great brands that people love, including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Mark West, Black Box, Ruffino and The Prisoner. The company’s premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila and High West Whiskey.

Awards & Accolades

2001 Rochester Business Hall of Fame

2001 HERBERT W. VANDEN BRUL ENTREPRENEURIAL AWARD, given by Rochester Institute of Technology’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business to an individual whose business improved the Rochester economy and/or whose innovative management skills have changed the course of an existing business

2002 WINE ENTHUSIAST MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD, given for outstanding achievement in the wine world, both within a given year and over time

2002 ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE’S WINE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, for working to secure justice and fair treatment for people in the wine industry

2005 MARKET WATCH INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE YEAR, given for exceptional contributions to the wine industry


2008 INTERNATIONAL WINE & SPIRITS COMPETITION LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, for his legendary business prowess focusing on motivating and inspiring people to continuously strive for excellence as they work to achieve the organization’s strategic objectives, which include providing unmatched quality and value to customers and consumers around the world 

2008 MEININGER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN WINE & SPIRIT, presented by Meininger Verlag, the leading European trade publisher for publications on wine and beverages, based in Neustadt an der WeinstraBe, Germany. Richard was honored for the unprecedented expansion of Constellation Brands

2009 DECANTER MAGAZINE’S #1 MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN THE WORLD OF WINE for having a direct influence over the style of wines consumers are drinking today

2011 BEVERAGE FORUM’S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, given to individuals who, through their lifetime efforts, have materially changed the beverage landscape

2013 MR. CANANDAIGUA AWARD from the Canandaigua, New York Chamber of Commerce, given to an individual who exemplifies a unique combination of citizenship and philanthropy

2015 Southern Wine & Spirits’ Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the industry