Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.


Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

Just a month after agreeing to buy Mondavi for $1.3 billion, Constellation Brands has made its first Italian acquisition, buying a 40% stake in Tuscan producer Ruffino. The deal, estimated to be worth around $80 million, will see Constellation's US fine wine division, Franciscan Estates, distribute the Ruffino brands in the United States, giving the company access to the lucrative premium Italian segment for the first time. The Folonari family, owners of Ruffino since 1913, retain a majority share of the business and will continue to manage the company. As Harpers went to press, a Constellation spokeswoman said that it was far too early to say what this means for Ruffino in the UK', but the company's current UK agents, Alivini, said there would be no switch in UK distribution to Constellation. There's no way Ruffino is leaving Alivini, absolutely no way,' Alivini's PR and marketing manager, Gianni Segatta said. We've been looking after Ruffino since we started the company.' It seems likely that Constellation will want to get the distribution at some point, however. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Harpers in May this year, Constellation Wines CEO Stephen Millar admitted that his company was looking for Italian sites, but that as far as buying Old World production facilities goes, they will very much be driven by what Old World wines we will be able to sell in the US and the UK.'