Fernandez was a 30-year veteran of the wine industry and built a career focused on brand development, sales growth and business leadership. He joined Constellation Brands in 2001 and played a key role in the rapid growth of the company's wine business, including the acquisition and integration of the Robert Mondavi Corporation, Vincor USA and Beam Wine Estates. After serving in a number of leadership roles, Fernandez was named CEO of CWNA in 2007.
Rob Sands, president and CEO of Constellation Brands, said: "We are deeply saddened by Jose's death.
"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 organisation."
To ensure continuity of Constellation's North American business, Jay Wright, president of CWNA, will continue to lead the organization and report to Rob Sands. Wright, who assumed his role on Dec. 1, was named executive vice president and chief commercial officer of CWUF in March, 2009. Prior to that, he served as president of Vincor Canada since Oct. 2001.