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Exclusive: Constellation Bolsters Luxury Portfolio, Becoming U.S. Importer For Champagne Palmer

May 23, 2018

Constellation Brands has made a move in the rising Champagne category, SND has learned. Constellation’s fine wine division—TRU Estates And Vineyards—has forged a new strategic partnership with Champagne Palmer & Co., effective this July.

Under the long-term agreement, TRU Estates and Vineyards will serve as the Champagne brand’s exclusive importer in the U.S., with a focus on the on-premise and fine wine retail channels. Established in 1947, Champagne Palmer & Co.’s holdings include more than 200 hectares (494 acres) of Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in Champagne’s Montagne de Reims sub-region. The house is best known for its Brut Reserve ($55), Rosé Reserve ($75), and Blanc de Blancs ($85), among other upscale offerings.

Champagne Palmer was previously imported into the U.S. by González Byass USA, which launched the label stateside for the first time in 2015. The luxury brand will join Schrader Cellars, Robert Mondavi Winery, The Prisoner Wine Company, Mount Veeder Winery, Inniskillin, and Ruffino Estates in the existing TRU Estates And Vineyards stable. Constellation formed the TRU division a year ago, backing it with a dedicated sales force, marketing team, and strategy focused on the fine wine space.

Chris Stenzel, president of Constellation’s Wine & Spirits division, said the company sees “immense opportunities for Champagne Palmer & Co. in the U.S.,” referencing the brand’s “long and prestigious history and international luxury consumer following.”

Constellation’s Champagne play comes as the bubbly category continues to post impressive U.S. growth. According to Impact Databank, Champagne depletions rose 5% in the U.S. last year to cross 1.5 million cases. Moët Hennessy dominates the category with a market share approaching 70%, led by the Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon brands, which account for a combined 950,000 cases.—Christina Jelski & Daniel Marsteller

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