Jose Fernandez, chief executive officer of Constellation Wines North America (CWNA) since July, 2007, has died, the company announced today. He was 54 years old. The cause of death was brain cancer.
A 30-year veteran of the wine industry, Fernandez held various positions with the company since 2001, and was instrumental in its acquisition and integration of Robert Mondavi Winery, Vincor USA and Beam Wine Estates.
Constellation Brands’ president and CEO, Rob Sands, said Jay Wright, CWNA’s president, will continue to lead the organization, whose brands include such icons as Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Ravenswood, Blackstone, Estancia, Hogue, Rex Goliath, Franciscan Oakville Estate, Mount Veeder, Toasted Head and Simi.
"We are deeply saddened by Jose’s death," Sands said in a statement. "Jose was an enthusiastic leader and an innovator whose vision played a significant role in the growth and direction of the company. A classically trained conductor from the Julliard School, Jose melded his artistic passion with clear business acumen. We extend our sincerest sympathies to the Fernandez family, particularly his wife and children, who meant the world to him. He was a wonderful person with great values and will be missed by everyone across our entire organization."