VICTOR, N.Y., Jan 04, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ, ASX: CBR), announced today that Jose Fernandez, chief executive officer (CEO) of Constellation Wines North America (CWNA), passed away on Jan. 1 after a courageous battle with brain cancer. He was 54 years old.

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A 30-year veteran of the wine industry, Fernandez built a career focused on brand development, sales growth and business leadership. He joined Constellation Brands in 2001 and played a key role in the rapid growth of the company's wine business, including the acquisition and integration of the Robert Mondavi Corporation, Vincor USA and Beam Wine Estates. After serving in a number of leadership roles, Fernandez was named CEO of CWNA in 2007.

"We are deeply saddened by Jose's death," said Rob Sands, Constellation Brands president and CEO. "Jose was an enthusiastic leader and an innovator whose vision played a significant role in the growth and direction of the company. A classically trained conductor from the Julliard School, Jose melded his artistic passion with clear business acumen. We extend our sincerest sympathies to the Fernandez family, particularly his wife and children, who meant the world to him. He was a wonderful person with great values and will be missed by everyone across our entire organization."

To ensure continuity of Constellation's North American business, Jay Wright, president of CWNA, will continue to lead the organization and report to Rob Sands. Wright, who assumed his role on Dec. 1, was named executive vice president and chief commercial officer of CWUF in March, 2009. Prior to that, he served as president of Vincor Canada since Oct. 2001.

About Constellation Brands

Constellation Brands is the world's leading wine company that achieves success through an unmatched knowledge of wine consumers paired with storied brands that suit varied lives and tastes. 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(R) company with more than 100 total brands in our portfolio, sales in about 150 countries and operations in approximately 45 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 Brands and its product portfolio visit the company's web site at

SOURCE Constellation Brands, Inc.