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Constellation Brands makes $20 million investment in California wineries

Projects include expanding crushing capacity, adding new bottling lines

September 26, 2013
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Constellation Brands Inc., Victor, N.Y., announced plans to invest more than $20 million in several of its California wineries and vineyard operations to expand its growing, crushing, fermenting, storing and bottling capacities. The investment is attributable to several factors, including increased demand for the company’s premium wine brands and creating additional efficiencies with in-house and state-of-the-art technologies, the company says.

As part of these plans, Constellation Brands will purchase and/or lease more than 750 acres of land to be developed in the Lodi Delta area of San Joaquin County in California. Vineyards of cooler-climate varietals, such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and some Cabernet Sauvignon, will be planted to supply brands including Mark West, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, Robert Mondavi Private Selection and Clos du Bois.

The company also will invest in a tank expansion project at its Gonzales winery in Monterey County that will increase its Central Coast crushing capacity from 70,000 tons to 80,000 tons. At its Turner Road Vintners (TRV) winery in San Joaquin County, Constellation Brands will add 7,000 tons of crushing capacity and 1.5 million gallons of storage capacity. At its Clos du Bois winery in Sonoma County, it will complete installation of more than 1 million gallons of stainless steel tanks by mid-2014.

The TRV winery also has installed a new, in-house, state-of-the-art Tetra Pak bottling line. Constellation launched Vendange wines in 500-ml Tetra Pak cartons in 2004.

“We continue to see strong growth in this category, and installing a new Tetra Pak line puts the company in a great position to support the growth of not only Vendange, but Black Box and Rex Goliath, which are now being offered in 500-ml Tetra Paks,” said Greg Fowler, senior vice president of operations for Constellation Brands, in a statement.

Additionally, Constellation’s Mission Bell Winery in Madera County is adding a bag-in-box bottling line to increase capacity by 50 percent to meet growing demand for Black Box wine. Woodbridge Winery in San Joaquin County also plans to convert one bottling line to accommodate growth of the 187-ml polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle category for its Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi brand.

“The need for more land, fermenters, tanks and bottling lines is a direct result of the success of our brands,” said Jay Wright, president of Constellation Brands’ Wine and Spirits Division, in a statement. “We see a bright future for our California brands and are committed to ensuring that we can meet consumer demand as we fulfill our mission to build brands that people love.”

Fowler added: “We are continuously looking to improve our operations and have done a great job over the last several years to optimize the efficiency of our many California vineyards, wineries and facilities while at the same time maintaining the award-winning quality of our wine. Increasing capacity from grape to glass and investing in state-of-the-art technology is a wise investment that is not only good for Constellation Brands, but good for the local economies where we live and work.”

While the projects are in various stages of completion, most are expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Collectively, the projects represent a greater than $20 million investment, which is part of the company’s planned capital expenditures for the year. In addition to hiring local contractors and labor to support construction, development, installation and maintenance for each project, Constellation will add 15-25 employees to accommodate the increased production and operations activities.

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