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Brown-Forman Completes Sale of Closed Jekel Facilities

Greenfield, CA, January 31, 2006 — Brown-Forman has completed the sale of the former Jekel Winery to S.A.M. Properties, based in Salinas. The purchase price was not disclosed, but includes the winery, equipment and vineyards surrounding the facility. S.A.M. Properties was represented by Manuel Amaral in the transaction.

The winery was closed in 2004 and production of Jekel wines was moved to other Brown-Forman wineries.

“The Jekel brand will continue with our full support, and remain focused on its heritage in Monterey, where the winery was a pioneer in recognizing the potential of this great growing region,” said David Dearie, President of Brown-Forman Wines.

Jekel Vineyards, which dates to 1968 in Monterey County, offers Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Monterey and the Central Coast. A new package designed by noted artist Michael Schwab honors Jekel’s Monterey heritage by depicting a weathered barn cupola and weathervane, commonly seen on agricultural buildings throughout the region.

S.A.M. Properties acquires the vineyard property, which consists of 135 acres with 122 planted predominantly to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Brown-Forman will purchase grapes from the vineyard through the 2007 harvest, and retain rights to the Gravelstone vineyard name.

Steve Dorfman, Chief Winery Officer for Brown-Forman, said the Jekel facility did not provide for the expected growth of the Jekel brand and, with newer facilities nearby, the winery was no longer needed to support the brand.

Jekel Vineyards will continue to focus on wines from Monterey, including popular selections from the well-known Sanctuary vineyard in the Arroyo Seco district. An off-dry Gewürztraminer is the newest wine offered by Jekel, and is now being introduced in the marketplace.

Brown-Forman Wines is a part of Brown-Forman Beverages, based in Louisville, Kentucky. It markets Korbel Champagnes and produces and markets Fetzer, Sonoma-Cutrer, Bonterra, Mariah, Jekel and Virgin Vines from California; and markets Michel Picard and Gala Rouge Wines from France, along with Durbanville Hills from South Africa.

Visit Jekel on the web at
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For more information, Contact: James Caudill
(415) 444-7410
(707) 799-0144 mobile
(707) 570-2098 After Hours
[email protected]