Empathy Wines Acquired By Constellation Brands

By Annie Baker ● July 6, 2020
  • New York-based Constellation Brands — a producer and maker of beer, wine, and spirits — has acquired Empathy Wines. These are the details about the deal.

New York-based Constellation Brands — a producer and maker of beer, wine, and spirits — has acquired Empathy Wines. Empathy Wines is a direct-to-consumer wine brand co-founded by entrepreneur, investor, and social media personality Gary Vaynerchuk with business partners Jon Troutman and Nate Scherotter. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Launched in 2019, Empathy Wines is priced at about $20 per bottle and it has sold 15,000 cases and acquired over 2,000 subscription customers to date. As part of the agreement, Constellation is going to work with the Empathy Wines team to further scale the brand’s growth while utilizing their rich consumer insights and analytics.

Vaynerchuk and former VaynerMedia executives Troutman and Scherotter had set out to create quality wines made of grapes sourced from sustainable growers. And the $20 per bottle price point benefits both the consumer and the farmer. Empathy Wines quickly gained traction with consumers, propelled by the founding partners’ expertise in scaling consumer brands and building brand equity in a digitally-native way while providing an elevated purchasing and delivery experience to the consumer. And the brand has experienced impressive growth since its initial product launch in 2019, selling approximately 15,000 cases, and acquiring over 2,000 subscription customers to date.

As part of the deal, the Empathy Wines brand will be integrated into Constellation’s wine and spirits brand portfolio. And Empathy Wines employees, including co-founders Jon and Nate, will join the Constellation Brands family and work together with its wine and spirits organization. Vaynerchuk is going to continue to assist Constellation Brands and Empathy Wines in a consulting capacity.

Here’s a video of Vaynerchuk and Robert Hanson talking about the deal:

Key Quotes:

“We are committed to transforming our wine and spirits business into a high-performing brand portfolio that consistently delivers growth and shareholder value. Key to our strategy is being consumer obsessed – building a direct relationship with our consumers, meeting them where they are shopping and engaging today, and pushing beyond to meet their evolving preferences well into the future. We believe Empathy Wines has the right team and approach to help us deliver exceptional brands and experiences to our consumers, and thereby industry-leading growth, by expediting our ability to more deeply connect with consumers and build the strongest direct-to-consumer and digital commerce business in the category.”

-Bill Newlands, president and chief executive officer, Constellation Brands

“Our ability to understand and ‘empathize’ with the modern-day wine consumer’s behavior, wants, and needs has been proven through Empathy’s incredible growth. We are excited to replicate this modern-day, consumer-centric approach at a larger scale, and with more infrastructure, working with a portfolio of some of the most iconic brands in the world of wine, and with leadership that is making investments in a quickly evolving category.”

-Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerMedia and Creator and Host of Wine Library TV