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Brown-Forman and GIV Exploring Opportunities for Long-Term Production Partnership.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BFB) confirmed today that it has entered into negotiations with Gruppo Italiano Vini (GIV) to establish a partnership for the production of Bolla Italian wines. Under discussion is the possibility that Brown-Forman would sell its main Bolla wine production facility in Pedemonte, Italy to GIV, which would then produce and sell wine to Brown-Forman for its line of Bolla Italian Wines. Brown-Forman will maintain ownership of the Bolla trademark and continue to market and sell Bolla Wines in the U.S. and other markets around the globe. GIV would distribute Bolla Wines in Italy, but Brown-Forman would maintain marketing responsibility.

"Our goal is to improve efficiency and gain flexibility in the sourcing of wine for our Bolla brand, which has long been one of the leading premium Italian wines sold in the U.S.," said Brown-Forman Chief Executive Officer Paul Varga. "GIV and Brown-Forman already enjoy a long and productive partnership through Fontana Candida Italian Wines, and GIV owns more than 15 wineries throughout Italy. If these negotiations are successful, we will be able to source high quality wines from GIV, improve our cost structure, and position Bolla for improved performance."

Brown-Forman, which has marketed and sold Bolla Wines since 1968, should know within 90 days whether it will enter into the agreement with GIV regarding Bolla's production operations.

Brown-Forman Corporation is a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality consumer products, including Jack Daniel's, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodka, Canadian Mist, Fetzer and Bolla Wines, Korbel California Champagnes, and Hartmann Luggage.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 19, 2006
Words:256
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