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Wine Spectator On Constellation’s Entry Into Oregon Wine

April 8, 2022

Wine Spectator exclusively reported yesterday that Constellation Brands, one of the world’s largest wine companies, has acquired Oregon’s Lingua Franca, the Willamette Valley producer founded by Master Sommelier Larry Stone. The deal includes the brand, winery, vineyards, and inventory. The price was not disclosed.

Lingua Franca’s winemaking team, led by Thomas Savre and French consultant Dominique Lafon, will remain on board, while Stone will serve as brand ambassador. This is Constellation’s first foray into Oregon. “We wanted to have a luxury Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brand in our portfolio,” said Robert Hanson, president of wine and spirits at Constellation. “We looked at California and Oregon, and there was a synergy that happened in the conversation with the Lingua Franca team.”

Stone originally sought new investors in 2019 to expand Lingua Franca’s hospitality and direct-to-consumer business at the winery. Then came the one-two punch of Covid-19 and wildfires in 2020. “We decided not to bottle wine in 2020 because of smoke damage,” Stone told Wine Spectator. That lost revenue was a blow. “Not only did we need partners to expand, but also to continue to operate at the level we had been at.” Wine Spectator has the full story.—Tim Fish

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