Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ), the world’s leading premium wine company, announced today that it has purchased the remaining 50.1 per cent of the Tuscan winery Ruffino S.r.l. from the Folonari family for approximately €50 million (approx. $69 million).
Constellation welcomes approximately 130 employees and now fully owns the iconic Ruffino brand and the historical production facility located in close proximity to Florence. The wines continue to be produced on approximately 600 hectares of prestigious vineyards at the same Tuscan Estates of Ruffino as has been done for decades.
“The prestigious Ruffino, which dates back to 1877, is an internationally recognized Old World wine brand that sets the standard for Italian wines,” said Rob Sands, president and chief executive officer (CEO), Constellation Brands, Inc. “We intend to build on the history of the Folonari family and the image and reputation they brought to the brand for today’s wine consumers who enjoy Tuscan style wines.” Constellation’s equity interest in Ruffino began in 2004 with a 40 percent stake in the company, and increased to 49.9 percent in 2010. Since then, the Ruffino brand has become one of Constellation’s 19 “focus brands” which represent the majority of profit for the company’s U.S. wine and spirits business.
“Constellation has a history of evolving iconic wines, such as the Robert Mondavi brand, and nurturing them to their full potential,” said Adolfo Folonari, the outgoing managing director of Ruffino S.r.l, who will remain with Ruffino as a board member. “I am confident that Constellation will leverage its global best practices to take the Ruffino brand to a new level, while carefully preserving the heritage of the wines.”
Among Ruffino’s most recognized brands are, to name just a few, the coveted Ruffino Riserva Ducale, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary vintage this year with its special selection Riserva Ducale Gold, and the new born Il Ducale, the lively and delicious Chianti and Chianti Superiore, the highly awarded Modus and Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino.
Ruffino annually produces 1.3 million cases of wine which are sold in key markets around the world. According to SymphonyIRI industry data for the last 52 weeks, Ruffino is experiencing approximately eight percent growth in dollar sales in the U.S. Ruffino’s year-to-date global sales are growing at nine percent.