Constellation’s Canadian wines change hands

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan acquires the business, which includes Inniskillin and Jackson-Triggs.

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Canada’s leading wine business has changed hands from Constellation Brands to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in a $1.03-billion deal announced Monday.

Ontario Teachers’ acquired the Mississauga-headquartered Constellation Brands Canada, which operates the Inniskillin and Jackson-Triggs wineries, among others, as well as the 163 Wine Rack stores in Ontario. The Canadian brands have roughly three times the market share of the company’s closest competitor, including seven of the top 20 wine brands in the Canadian market, a release from the Ontario Teachers said.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval. A Constellation release said it expected the sale to close by the end of the year. The company will hold on to Black Velvet Whisky and its Lethbridge, Alta.-based production facility.

Constellation – whose brands include Corona and Modelo beer, Ballast Point craft brewery, and multiple wineries and spirits brands – also announced Monday that it was acquiring Charles Smith Wines, enhancing its U.S. wine portfolio.

Bensimon Byrne has worked on a number of Constellation Brands’ products, including award-winning campaigns as the AOR for Jackson-Triggs and Svedka Vodka.

In the release, Ontario Teachers’ said it would partner with Constellation Brands Canada CEO Jay Wright and the existing management team.