Canandaigua Winery

Marilyn Konopka

Director, Product Development

Marilyn Konopka, Director of Product Development at the Canandaigua Winery, has been responsible for new product development for Constellation Brands for more than 30 years. She has developed a number of different wine products that have created a demand for New York grapes, and her work with FIVS (a worldwide organization designed to serve all sectors of the alcohol beverage industry, including beer, wine and spirits) has supported wineries internationally.

Marilyn and her team do product development for wine and spirits, but recently have been tapped to help with beer and emerging categories. “The opportunities have helped us all grow, as well as giving us a great lens into the company as a whole,” said Marilyn. “There are lots of exciting projects in the hopper and it is a treat to be on the ground floor of that.”

Who inspires you to be stellar?
My grandfather inspires me. He was someone that never had the opportunity to finish grade school, but worked hard and established his own masonry business. He continued to work well into his 80’s. When I joined Constellation, Marvin [Sands, founder] was very supportive and instilled similar work ethics and respectfulness. It has been an interesting ride for sure!

What excites you about showing up to work at Constellation every day?
My staff will attest to the fact that I often say, “The only constant is change.” Being able to accept the challenges and being able to rise above the noise to deliver the results is fun.

What is most rewarding about working for Constellation?
Watching products take life, and having a great team with a strong work ethic to work with.

What does “To elevate life with every glass raised” mean to you?
Delivering great tasting products for many demographics and occasions on time and budget.

What Constellation product is in your glass when you are celebrating special moments or occasions?  
Ha! Depends on the occasion for sure. We have too many fine products to choose from.