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Constellation Purchases Iconic Santa Barbara Pinot Noir Producer

Constellation Brands — the company behind America’s best-selling beer Modelo and major wine labels like Robert Mondavi and Kim Crawford — is adding another winery to its portfolio. The beverage giant announced on Wednesday that it acquired Sea Smoke, an esteemed producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in California’s Santa Barbara region.

The purchase price for the deal was not disclosed, but the acquisition includes Sea Smoke’s brand, inventory, winery, and 1,100 acres of land — 256 of which are under vine. Founded by Bob Davids in 1998, Sea Smoke was a pioneer in proving the impeccable quality of wines from the Santa Barbara region, particularly cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay expressions from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Sea Smoke has since evolved into a large, biodynamically farmed estate.

This purchase comes on the heels of several other fine-wine acquisitions for Constellation including Schrader Cellars, Lingua Franca, and Booker Vineyard. Although the U.S. wine industry is struggling with oversupply and a slowing interest in budget wines, it’s clear that companies like Constellation still have hope for the high-end wine market.

“As we continue to pursue growth aligned with consumer-led premiumisation trends through our higher-end brands of the wine and spirits business, we are excited to add Sea Smoke to our fine wine portfolio,” Sam Glaetzer, president of wine and spirits at Constellation, told Wine Spectator. “Not only does Sea Smoke offer a uniquely acclaimed estate vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, but its highly acclaimed wines also align with our target consumer preferences as they continue to shift to the higher end. We look forward to working with the Sea Smoke team to grow this exceptional winery while upholding its impeccable tradition of quality and customer experience.”

Sea Smoke’s long-time winemaker Don Schroeder, as well as vineyard manager Julian Malone, will stay in their current roles at the company. The team at-large says it’s looking forward to working with Constellation: “They have the right team with the right resources and the expertise to help us grow and thrive in a highly competitive market,” Victor Gallegos, vice president, general manager and director of winemaking at Sea Smoke told Wine Spectator.

The article Constellation Purchases Iconic Santa Barbara Pinot Noir Producer appeared first on VinePair.

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