Constellation Brands reports dim quarter; deal with Gallo now set for Nov. 30 closing

Constellation Brands reported an 11% drop in wine and spirits sales for the recent quarter to $624.5 million compared from the same period last year, reflecting continued difficulty in selling bottles amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Victor, New York, alcohol beverage company said on Thursday overall it had net income of $512.1 million for the quarter that ended on Aug. 31, compared with a loss of $525 million from the same fiscal quarter in 2019. It has been buoyed in recent years by its strong Mexican beer business and has aggressively ventured into Canadian cannabis investment.

The company said it expects to complete the sale of its low-price wines to E. & J. Gallo Winery of Modesto by Nov. 30, a long-delayed transaction stymied amid antitrust concerns. The $1.1 billion deal will include the Clos du Bois winery in Geyserville and the Ravenswood and Mark West brands.

Wine grape losses included in US COVID financial assistance program

The U.S. Agriculture Department will allow wine grapes to be eligible for the second round of the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that provides payments to growers who have encountered financial loss from the coronavirus pandemic.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said there’s $14 billion for ag producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.

The Wine Institute, which represents California wineries, and the California Association of Winegrape Growers lobbied for the fruit to be covered in the latest round federal assistance.

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More research projects planned on Pierce’s Disease

The state Pierce’s Disease and Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter Board has recommended funding 12 research projects on the disease.

The glassy-winged sharpshooter can transmit the disease into vines and render them inoperable. It has caused millions of dollars in damage to grapevines across the state.

The projects will operate from a range of one to three years and be paid for through $2.4 million in state grants. The board’s recommendation was later approved by California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross.

Nine research projects previously had been approved for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to

Bill Swindell

Business, Beer and Wine, The Press Democrat  

In the North Coast, we are surrounded by hundreds of wineries along with some of the best breweries, cidermakers and distillers. These industries produce an abundance of drinks as well as good stories – and those are what I’m interested in writing. I also keep my eye on our growing cannabis industry and other agricultural crops, which have provided the backbone for our food-and-wine culture for generations.

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