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Constellation Brands ups direct-to-consumer ante with Booker Vineyards buy

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Constellation Brands has made another direct-to-consumer wine purchase in the US, this time snaring a stake in California's Booker Vineyards.

Booker Vineyards operates in the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area in California

Booker Vineyards operates in the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area in California

Almost two weeks after having bought Empathy Wines, which operates exclusively online, the group announced yesterday the acquisition of a minority holding in Paso Robles' Booker. The move, for an undisclosed fee, will see Constellation increase the US distribution of Booker's wholesale operations as well as its My Favorite Neighbor and Harvey & Harriet wine brands.

Booker's high-end portfolio, which retails at between US$30 and $165 per bottle, also includes its namesake brand, which is sold direct-to-consumer only.

"Eric Jensen and the Booker Vineyards team have built an exceptionally high-quality collection of Rhône-varietal wines from the Paso Robles AVA," said Constellation's president of wine & spirits, Robert Hanson. "They have done so while building an impressive DTC business with an exciting runway for growth, which aligns with our long-term aspirations to lead the category in DTC and three-tier e-commerce.

"We look forward to working closely with the Booker Vineyard team to help them strategically expand their distribution and build their My Favorite Neighbor and Harvey & Harriet brands with consumers, while leveraging their unique expertise and capabilities to accelerate our leadership."

Constellation's strategy of exiting the value end of the wine and spirits categories will gain further traction later this year when the group expects to finally complete its long-awaited divestment of a raft of brands to E&J Gallo Winery.

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