FAIRPORT, N.Y., March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ, STZ.B) announced today that its Canandaigua Wine division purchased certain wine brands, wineries and related assets from Corus Brands, Inc. ("Corus"). Corus is the second largest wine company in the Northwest with leading brands in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Wine brands acquired in the transaction include Covey Run and Columbia from Washington State, Ste. Chapelle from Idaho and Alice White, one of the fastest growing Australian imports.

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Richard Sands, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Constellation, stated, "This acquisition demonstrates Constellation's ability to evaluate and respond to changing consumer tastes by adding new brands in dynamic categories that show sustainable growth potential. Consumers are increasingly interested in wines from Australia and the Northwest, which last year grew approximately 45% and 10%, respectively." Sands added, "The Corus brands will offer excellent opportunities for growth in Constellation's wine portfolio, which ranks number two in the world, and with Alice White, our portfolio now encompasses the fastest growing import category, Australia."

Jon Moramarco, President of Canandaigua Wine, stated, "With this acquisition and our recent acquisition of the Turner Road Vintners brands, we are now positioned to be the number one wine company in the Northwest. Additionally, this acquisition helps us to round out our portfolio in the higher margin and growing premium table wine category. We intend to use our strong marketing and distribution platform to duplicate their success in the Northwest throughout the country and internationally."

The purchase price for the Corus brands and related assets is approximately $52 million plus an earn-out over six years based on the performance of the brands. Constellation financed the purchase with the Company's revolving line of credit. As part of this transaction, Canandaigua Wine entered into long-term grape supply agreements with affiliates of the seller covering more than 1,000 acres of Washington and Idaho vineyards.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2000, net sales for the brands acquired were approximately $32 million on unit volume of approximately 650,000 cases. Net sales have increased at an average compounded annual growth rate of 20% from 1997 to 2000. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share in the first year.

Constellation Brands, Inc., is a leader in the production and marketing of beverage alcohol brands in North America and the United Kingdom and is a leading independent drinks wholesaler in the United Kingdom. As the second largest supplier of wine, the second largest importer of beer and the fourth largest supplier of distilled spirits, Constellation Brands, Inc., is the largest single-source supplier of these products in the United States. With its broad product portfolio, composed of brands in all major beverage alcohol categories, Constellation believes it is distinctly positioned to satisfy an array of consumer preferences. Leading brands in Constellation's portfolio include: Franciscan Oakville Estate, Simi, Estancia, Almaden, Arbor Mist, Talus, Vendange, Black Velvet, Fleischmann's, Schenley, Ten High, Stowells of Chelsea, Blackthorn and the number one imported beer, Corona Extra.

Forward-Looking Statements

The Company makes forward-looking statements from time to time and desires to take advantage of the "safe harbor" which is afforded such statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 when they are accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.

The statements set forth in this press release, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Any projections of future results of operations, and in particular the Company's expectation that the acquisition and its related financing will be accretive to earnings per share in the first year, which expectation is based upon achieving certain sales projections, meeting certain cost targets and successfully integrating the acquired assets, should not be construed in any manner as a guarantee that such results will in fact occur. There can be no assurance that any forward-looking statement in this press release will be realized or that actual results will not be significantly higher or lower than set forth in or implied by such forward-looking statement. For risk factors associated with the Company and its business, please refer to our Securities and Exchange Commission filings. SOURCE Constellation Brands, Inc.

CONTACT: Mark Maring, Vice President, Investor Relations of Constellation Brands, Inc., 716-218-2169/