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Some Italian wine news

Published on May 17, 2006 2:09 PM | Comments

News from Florence:

Frescobaldi Establishes 'Tenute di Toscana,' a Partnership in the Fine Wine Business

Three prestigious wine estates: Tenuta dell'Ornellaia (Bolgheri), Castel Giocondo (Montalcino) and Luce della Vite (Montalcino), all owned by Marchesi de' Frescobaldi, join together in a new fine wine partnership with SPI Group and Michael Mondavi.

FLORENCE, Italy -- Marchesi de' Frescobaldi, leader in the Italian wine sector, announced today the grouping together of three internationally renowned wine estates, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, Castel Giocondo and Luce della Vite, in a new holding, Tenute di Toscana which has entered into a partnership with two prominent international corporations.

This important transaction, completed by Marchesi de' Frescobaldi with the advice of Mediobanca, Milan and the law firm Pazzi, Florence, establishes a holding of three prestigious wine estates, part of whose capital was offered to international investors. Following a long and careful selection of potential partners among leading international operators, Marchesi de' Frescobaldi signed an agreement with SPI Group, Geneva and MIP, Napa CA, owned by the Michael Mondavi family. SPI Group, advised by HSBC, London and the law firm Lovells, Milan, is one of the most important vodka producers in the world, whose brands include Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya. Michael Mondavi, the long time American partner of Frescobaldi and co-founder of Luce della Vite, advised by the law firm Contri, Florence, will continue to contribute to the success of the Marchesi de' Frescobaldi group by operating through his import company, Folio Wine Partners, as the exclusive importer of all the group's brands in the United States.

After a reserved capital increase of Tenute di Toscana, Marchesi de' Frescobaldi's holding is 72.29%. The board will be composed of eight members, six elected by Marchesi de' Frescobaldi, including Michael Mondavi, and two elected by the SPI Group; Yuri Shefler (SPI chairman) and Andrey Skurikhin (SPI deputy chairman).

Tenute di Toscana is primarily a financial vehicle, therefore the management, production and distribution will remain unchanged in all three Tuscan estates. The partnership with SPI Group and MIP (Michael Mondavi) brings important resources and capabilities to Tenute di Toscana and creates significant synergies for the new company.

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