Castello Banfi Brunello Wins Gold At VinItaly (VERONA, Italy, April 2004) - - The 2004 VinItaly Concorso Enologico Internazionale held early this month in Verona awarded Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 1997 its Grand Gold Medal and once again recognized Castello Banfi as Italy’s best winery. The official recognition, awarded to Castello Banfi for the eleventh year in a row, was based on the judgment of a jury of 90 wine professionals and journalists from all over the world. They blind-tasted 3,376 wines from 30 countries and granted Castello Banfi wines a higher cumulative score than any other Italian vintner. “Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino reflects our three decades of research on clones of the Sangiovese vine to produce a more consistently outstanding Brunello and share those results with our neighboring vintners,” said Cristina Mariani-May, who oversees estate operations on her family’s behalf. “It honors a dedicated team of people in our vineyards and winery, inspiring all of us to continue to strive for excellence and to capture, in our wine, the essence of Tuscan terroir.” Castello Banfi’s stand at the 5-day VinItaly wine fair was among the most popular and frequently visited. Motivated perhaps as much by the winery’s reputation for its unique hospitality and open access, as by the buzz over the acclaimed 1999 vintage, admirers of Castello Banfi waited in line for as long as half an hour to taste the wines. Castello Banfi is also an unprecedented four-time “International Winery of the Year,” winning the “Premio Gran VinItaly” at the same competition in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2000. The “Premio Speciale VinItaly 2004” is calculated by adding the points received by each producer’s top three wines earning a “Grand Mention” in the tastings. A total of 95 medals are awarded out of over 3,000 wines, making it one of the most selective competitions in the wine world. The Castello Banfi vineyard estate has been described as a “constellation of single vineyards.” Its premium wines include the Poggio all’Oro single vineyard reserve and the Poggio alle Mura cru of Montalcino region’s historic Brunello di Montalcino, along with noble international varietals and three proprietary cuvées, SummuS, ExcelsuS and Cum Laude. A medieval castle crowning the estate serves as a hospitality center for the region, housing the Michelin-starred Ristorante Castello Banfi and a more informal Taverna, as well as an enoteca and a museum tracing the history of glass as it relates to wine.