Constellation Brands has struck a deal to acquire California winery Sea Smoke as the US giant looks to focus on “higher-end wine”.

The Kim Crawford and Ruffino owner described Sea Smoke, based in Santa Rita Hills, as “one of the pre-eminent Pinot Noir producers in the world”.

“Not only does Sea Smoke offer a uniquely acclaimed estate vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills AVA but its highly acclaimed wines also align with our target consumer preferences as they continue to shift to the higher end,” Sam Glaetzer, the president of Constellation’s wine and spirits division, said.

Constellation has seen its wine sales come under pressure in recent quarters.

When the company published its annual financial results last month, CEO Bill Newlands said the group was preparing for a “reset year” in its fiscal 2025 to improve the performance of its wine-and-spirits businesses.

The Svedka vodka owner is set to narrow its focus on “prioritising” 11 “premium and above” wine-and-spirits brands – which represent roughly 75% of the net sales for the division – with additional investment in the next twelve months.

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Victor Gallegos, general manager at Sea Smoke, said Constellation has “the right team with the right resources and the expertise to help us grow and thrive in a highly competitive market”.

“It was clear early on that both Constellation Brands and Sea Smoke share an unwavering commitment to excellence, sustainability and strategic growth – qualities that will enable us to continue our mission to make some of the world’s great estate-grown wines.”

Speaking to Just Drinks in March, Constellation said it would love to “unlock” the South African market and build its wine-and-spirits portfolio in the country.

The company added it was also eyeing M&A opportunities in New Zealand, the US and Italy to build on its portfolio “premiumisation” strategy.