Constellation Europe has lined up an acquisition to boost its presence in South Africa.

The European arm of Constellation Brands confirmed today (8 October) that it has signed a letter of intent to buy Flagstone in the country. Financial details were not disclosed regarding the transaction, which is expected to complete before the end of this year. Flagstone, which Constellation is buying from family-owned Terrace Road Trading, will join the Kumala wine brand in Constellation Europe's South Africa portfolio.

As part of the proposed deal, Constellation Europe will retain the services of viticulturalist and winemaker Bruce Jack and his team. Jack will also supervise all of Constellation's viticulture and winemaking in South Africa, including Kumala.

Speaking to just-drinks today, Bruce said: "Our plans for Flagstone are not much different now as they always were. Flagstone is seen as a passionate ambassador for South Africa's wine industry. What this deal gives us is broader reach, with thousands of sales people instead of just me."

When asked about his stewardship over Kumala as well as Flagstone, Bruce said: "Bluntly, this give me an opportunity to have a major impact on the South African wine industry. South Africa needs a brand that fights for the category, and we haven't really had that as a country.

"It's a daunting challenge, but I'm delighted to have this opportunity - you only live once."

Bruce declined to expand on the financial aspects of the deal, but noted that Flagstone's vineyards are not included in the purchase.

Troy Christensen, president of Constellation Europe, added: "The proposed purchase of such a high-profile South African wine-making company and its dynamic portfolio of wines will mean that we have a credible premium-orientated portfolio to spearhead the development of South African wine in the UK and across Europe.

"Flagstone will help to take the South African category to another level of success by providing an incentive for the wine trade to 'premiumise' their wine business and by encouraging more shoppers to trade up to better quality more often."

Flagstone has enjoyed considerable success of late in Atlantic Canada and the UK through its Fish Hoek wine brand, Jack added. This year, the company is targeting total sales in the region of 300,000 cases.