Constellation Brands to acquire Empathy Wines to leverage on its consumer insights and analytics

USAConstellation Brands, leading beverage alcohol company, has announced it is acquiring wine brand and direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform, Empathy Wines less than a year after it was founded.

Co-founded by media personality Gary Vaynerchuk and business partners Jon Troutman and Nate Scherotter, Empathy Wines sells its offering through its e-commerce platform.

Constellation says the brand has sold approximately 15,000 cases and acquired more than 2,000 subscription customers since its initial product launch in 2019.

Under the acquisition deal, Constellation will work with the Empathy Wines team to scale the brand’s growth. Constellation also hopes to leverage Empathy’s consumer insights and analytics, as well as its digital technology, to build DTC and digital capabilities it can scale across its portfolio.

“We are committed to transforming our wine and spirits business into a high-performing brand portfolio that consistently delivers growth and shareholder value,” said Bill Newlands, president and CEO of Constellation Brands.

“We believe Empathy Wines has the right team and approach to help us deliver exceptional brands and experiences to our consumers, and thereby industry-leading growth, by expediting our ability to more deeply connect with consumers and build the strongest direct-to-consumer and digital commerce business in the category.”

Employees of the wine brand, including co-founders Troutman and Scherotter, will reportedly join Constellation as Empathy is integrated into its portfolio. Vaynerchuk will continue to assist Constellation Brands and Empathy Wines in a consulting capacity.

Constellation has embarked upon efforts to transform and premiunize its wine and spirits portfolio, including the recent divestiture of around 30 wine brands to E & J Gallo.

The company has also agreed to offload its Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy and Nobilo Wine brands in two separate transactions, announced earlier this month.

“Our ability to understand and ‘empathise’ with the modern-day wine consumer’s behaviour, wants, and needs has been proven through Empathy’s incredible growth,” Empathy Wines co-founder Vaynerchuk added.

“We are excited to replicate this modern-day, consumer-centric approach at a larger scale, and with more infrastructure, working with a portfolio of some of the most iconic brands in the world of wine, and with leadership that is making investments in a quickly evolving category.”

Constellation Brands also revealed that it had agreed to sell certain concentrate brands to Vie-Del, a Californian-based winery, distillery and fruit juice processor.

The deal includes grape juice concentrate Mega Purple, Mega Red, MegaNatural and Canandaigua Concentrate brands used in the company’s concentrates and high-colour concentrate business.

The transaction was made through the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Constellation Brands US Operations.

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