Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Constellation Brands Part 1

Constellation Brands is the largest wine company in the world. Here is their story...

Marvin Sands, twenty-one year old son of Mordecai Sands, entered the wine business in 1949 forming Canandaigua Industries in Canandaigua, New York, twenty-five miles southeast of Rochester. He wasn't exactly a novice in this business; Mordecai had been a partner in a Long Island winery. Moreover Mordecai financed his son as he purchased an erstwhile saurkraut factory, turning it into a winery. The game plan was to purchase bulk wine in California, bottle it in New York, and market it on the east coast. The first year's return on 200,000 gallons turned, was $150,000 in gross income.

The 1950's became an era of steady internal growth for Canandaigua, which was primarily a fruit wine company at the time. Several purchases of other wine companies, including two southern scuppernong makers, rounded out a portfolio of complimentary industries. In 1951 Canandaigua started a company called Richards Wine Cellars in Virginia which three years later marketed a product called "Wild Irish Rose" and the rest was history as they say. Throughout the 1960's that product rivalled Boone's Farm and other, shall we say, "inexpensive" recreational beverages in a category that sadly was ultra-popular and profitable. Boone's Farm was a Gallo product and from the beginning Marvin was eager to compete with both Gallo and Italian Swiss Colony which were both recognized as national brands and now the race was definitely on. In 1970 Canandaigua went public.

Stop in this week before Friday and get a 10% discount on your purchase of the surprisingly inconspicuous Constellation California wine stacked in the middle of the store. At this week's Friday tasting (5-7pm) we will taste that wine and several others here at the store. We ask for a $10 charge to taste the wines and that is applicable to a $30 minimum purchase. Say you read the blog and get a 15% case discount Friday night.

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