Robert Mondavi is in line for expansion in China

Robert Mondavi is in line for expansion in China

Constellation Brands is to expand the Chinese distribution of its Robert Mondavi wine brand with a new partnership in the country.

The deal, with Beijing-based Vats Liquor, was announced today (26 March) in the south-western Chinese city of Chengdu. It will see Napa Valley's Robert Mondavi sold through the Vats Liquor network, which comprises around 500 shops across the country.

The new agreement aims to expand Mondavi sales by ten times, Constellation's senior VP of international, Philip Kingston, told just-drinks at ProWein 2014 in Düsseldorf this week.

“We already sell Mondavi in China in a small way but we can now use the leverage of the Vats network to get it into places we wouldn't be able to get to,” Kingston said. “They have a whole private market there where a lot of business is done and we just would have access to that without Vats.”

Kingston said the partnership will be “very long-term” and will strengthen Constellation's footprint in China over the coming decades.

Meanwhile, Constellation CEO Rob Sands said: “This strategic alignment with Vats Liquor is an exciting step forward in the execution of our international strategy, which is focused on establishing strong distribution of our powerful global wine and spirits brands in core markets around the world.”

Constellation's head winemaker told just-drinks this week that the Californian grape harvest could be down by 10% this year because of drought.