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Charles Smith Wines Sells to Constellation Brands

red devil Merlot

I’ve talked about Charles Smith Wines quite a few times in this space.  I think the brand is emblematic of not only what’s possible in terms of high end quality for Washington wine, but that it also helps to show that Washington is going to be California’s main, long term, wine competition in America.

So, this morning I woke up to news that Charles Smith Wines has sold to Constellation Brands.

The sale price is reportedly, $130 million dollars. It’ll include pretty much the widely distributed stuff and this deal will absolutely let them continue to increase distribution and the amount of wine being made under each label.

Like most of these sales, for Charles Smith himself, not a lot will change.  The back end of the winery was all of 7 people, so they clearly needed some more sales support and winemakers are notoriously adverse to trying to set up businesses.  Instead, you can take a HUGE chunk of money, no longer have to worry about sales or marketing and focus on only making wine.

Really, if you were a winemaker, wouldn’t you sell?

For my wine clubs, it’s another nail in the coffin in terms of being able to offer Smith’s wines, but that’s ok.  The secondary part of this deal is that Smith should be consulting for a number of Constellation’s other brands and typically once a winemaker begins to consult, they take on a range of clients.  I won’t be surprised to see his name pop up with some smaller or even brand new producers in Washington State in the coming years.  Those are the folks we’ll gladly be shipping shortly thereafter.

It’s another sign of the times, it’s good news for Washington wine, at least over the long term and that’s all ok in my book.

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