Constellation Brands Acquires Santa Barbara’s Sea Smoke Producer

By | 10 May 2024

The deal encompasses 445ha of land in Sta Rita Hills, in which 104ha are presently occupied by vine. Moreover, it also includes a winery, inventory and the Sea Smoke brand. Constellation is known for brands like Robert Mondavi and Kim Crawford, and it’s been heightening its concentration on high-grade wines lately.

The enterprise, based in New York, has reinforced its superior portfolio by procuring Booker Vineyard, Domaine Curry, Lingua Franca, and Schrader Cellars.

Their approach is a response to the shifting consumer demographics. Despite a decline in wine consumption in America, leading to an oversupply issue in California, the demand for costly wines continues to be high.

Sam Glaetzer, president of wine and spirits at Constellation, informed Wine Spectator that they aim to achieve growth in line with consumer-driven premiumisation trends through their high-end wine and spirits business, and they look forward to incorporating Sea Smoke into their fine wine portfolio.

‘Sea Smoke not only provides a uniquely notable estate vineyard in the Sta Rita Hills AVA, but also its highly praised wines coincide with our target consumer preferences, which are continuously transitioning towards the premium end.

‘We are eager to collaborate with the Sea Smoke team to expand this remarkable winery whilst maintaining its flawless tradition of quality and customer experience.’

Video gaming entrepreneur Bob Davids founded Sea Smoke, located in Santa Barbara County, in the year 1998.

Soon after establishment, the wines began receiving high praise from respected critics and Sea Smoke quickly gained recognition as one of the major producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the region.

The estate expanded in 2016, with the purchase of the neighbouring Rita’s Crown Vineyard, and it is now farmed biodynamically.

Anna Lee Ijima described the wines as ‘unapologetically yummy’ in her recent review.

General manager Victor Gallegos, winemaker Don Schroeder and vineyard manager Julian Malone will retain their current roles.

Gallegos said: ‘We are extremely excited to collaborate with Constellation Brands as we begin writing a new chapter in the Sea Smoke story. They have the right team with the right resources and the expertise to help us grow and thrive in a highly competitive market.’

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