U.S.-owned winemaker Ruffino has acquired three vineyards in Italy’s Veneto region, aiming to significantly expand its Prosecco production, General Manager Sandro Sartor told Wine Enthusiast. The acquisitions raise Ruffino’s holdings by 311 acres (126 hectares).
“This acquisition of several hectares of vineyards and a state-of-the-art cellar marks a historic turning point for Ruffino,” Sartor said in an email. “With this investment, we changed our business model in the Veneto region, and we will be able to support the current and future growth.”
Financial details were not disclosed, but real estate experts in the Treviso area valued the deal at an estimated $34 million (30 million euros).
Owned by Constellation Brands, Ruffino is a Tuscan winery that has been synonymous with red wine production, especially Chianti, since its founding in 1877. However, the brand is looking to continue increasing its share of the sparkling wine market.
“In the last 10 years the importance of Prosecco, not only in the global taste of consumers but also for Ruffino, has grown dramatically,” Sartor said.
Ruffino has been producing Prosecco since 2010 and is one of the world’s top 10 popular brands for the category, according to wine-searcher.com. “We envisage that Ruffino’s wines from Veneto—Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, another key wine for us—will continue to win over more wine lovers, alongside Ruffino’s great Tuscan classics,” Sartor said.
The investment “will allow Ruffino a better control of the supply chain of all its Veneto wines in [the] portfolio, including Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio and Il Ducale Pinot Grigio, and also to expand significantly the production of Prosecco in the short and medium term,” he said.
The new entity, named Poderi Ducali Ruffino, will be “the new home for the production of the Proseccos and sparkling rosé,” Sartor said.
The acquisition includes a winery with a capacity of 9.2 million gallons (35,000 hectoliters) in the Venice province, and two vineyards: Vigneto di Rialto with 178 acres (72 hectares) in the Venice area, and Vigneto dell’Arsenale with 47 acres (19 hectares) in the Treviso area. Ruffino also acquired a guesthouse, to be named Ca’ del Duca, in the Treviso area, along with a third vineyard, Vigneto dei Trecento, of 86 acres (35 hectares).
Constellation Brands has no further acquisition plans in Italian wine regions, Sartor said.
Ruffino posted $123.6 million (106 million euros) in total revenues in 2017, with more than 93% coming from exports. The U.S., Canada, and the Nordic countries are the company’s top exports markets.