Constellation Brands believes in the potential of pro golfer Cristie Kerr's wine game. The company has taken a minority stake in Kerr Cellars, the San Francisco–based winery founded by Kerr in 2013 with the help of consulting winemaker Helen Keplinger. The investment was made through Constellation's Focus on Female Founders program. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Cristie, Helen, and the Kerr Cellars team have created a winning collection of wines that have garnered incredible industry praise and strongly resonate with consumers," said Jennifer Evans, vice president of Constellation Ventures, in a statement.
Kerr has been a passionate wine lover since a 2000 tournament near Napa gave her the opportunity to taste at some of the world's best cellars. In 2006, she partnered with Pride Mountain Vineyards to create the Curvature wine label—proceeds from the brand benefit breast cancer research. Six years later, Kerr launched Kerr Cellars. Keplinger is one of California's top consulting winemakers and is co-proprietor of her own eponymous brand. Kerr Cellars specializes in small productions from Napa and Sonoma vineyards, rarely producing more than 300 cases of a given label.
"We believe Kerr Cellars has significant runway for success and look forward to working closely with their team to strategically expand their resources and strengthen their position within fine wine," said Evans. The Focus on Female Founders program invests in female-founded and female-led businesses doing disruptive and innovative work across beverage alcohol.
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Kerr obviously believes there's room to grow. "We have a clearly defined vision of where we intend to take Kerr Cellars, and partnering with Constellation Brands provides access to resources and insights that will help us fulfill our commitment to consumers to bring them the highest quality wines from some of California's finest vineyards," she said in a statement.
This is the third fine-wine investment for Constellation in less than two months. The company acquired a minority stake in California's Booker Vineyard, the Paso Robles superstar winery founded by Eric Jensen. A few weeks before that, it bought Empathy Wines, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand co-founded by media personality Gary Vaynerchuk and his business partners John Troutman and Nate Scherotter.