~ California pinot noir brand experiencing about 35 percent volume growth~
VICTOR, N.Y., and GRATON, CALIF., June 29, 2012 – Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ), the world’s leading premium wine company, and Purple Wine Company, LLC, announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement under which the Mark West wine brand is being sold to Constellation Brands. Mark West pinot noir, with a 35 percent volume growth rate in the last 12 weeks according to SymphonyIRI, is the nation’s best-selling pinot noir and a leader in wine priced $10-$12 at retail. This recent success caps 10 years of double digit growth for Mark West, which has grown into a nearly 600,000-case brand sold primarily in the U.S.
“Mark West is one of the fastest-growing major pinot noirs in the market and has exceeded the growth of the category. It is an exciting addition to our portfolio and fills a gap in our portfolio of pinot noir brands,” said Rob Sands, chief executive officer, Constellation Brands. "We have a successful track record of integrating high-growth brands into our portfolio and maintaining their strong marketplace momentum.”
“While we did not search out this opportunity, it was an offer that made a great deal of sense given the evolution of the brand and the unique strengths and capabilities of Purple Wine Company,” said Purple Wine Company Owner and CEO Derek Benham. “Mark West had reached a critical juncture in its development. Purple Wine Company has grown Mark West to the point where it requires a company with the scale, reach and resources of Constellation Brands to sustain that growth.”
The transaction includes the Mark West trademark and inventories of wines from three California appellations: a California pinot noir, a Russian River reserve pinot noir and a Santa Lucia reserve pinot noir, along with a chardonnay. The deal is expected to close in July 2012 and is subject to customary closing conditions.
About Constellation Brands
As the world’s leader in premium wine, Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B) is a S&P 500 Index and a Fortune 1000® company with 4,400 employees, sales in 125 countries and operations in 40 facilities worldwide. The company manages a broad portfolio of more than 100 wines, beers and spirits that include: Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Inniskillin, Franciscan Estate, Ruffino, Simi, Estancia, Corona Extra, Black Velvet Canadian Whisky and SVEDKA Vodka. Learn more at www.cbrands.com.
About Purple Wine Company
Purple Wine Company was founded in 2001 by Derek Benham and is based in Graton, California. Its mission is to create wines that offer outstanding value, are high quality and consistent in style from vintage to vintage. The wines are produced at its sister production company, Sonoma Wine Company, using water and energy conservation practices, while reducing Green House Gas emissions. Current brands include Avalon, Four Vines, Bex and Rock Rabbit. For more information, please visit www.purplewine.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements. The word “expect” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. Those statements may relate to Constellation Brands’ 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 uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in or implied by the forward-looking statements. There can be no assurance that any transaction between Constellation Brands and Purple Wine Company, LLC will occur or will occur on the timetable contemplated hereby. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. Constellation Brands undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
In addition to risks associated with ordinary business operations, the forward-looking statements contained in this news release are subject to other risks and uncertainties, including completion of the announced transaction, the accuracy of all projections, and other factors and uncertainties disclosed from time to time in Constellation Brands, Inc.’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Feb. 29, 2012, which could cause actual future performance to differ from current expectations.