Rome, Italy – June 2010 – Castello Banfi was honored by the Italian Association of Sommeliers at the organization’s annual star-studded gala “Premio Internazionale del Vino, referred to as “Italy’s Oscar Night.” The special achievement award, called “Premio Speciale della Giuria,” was bestowed by a panel of Italy’s leading professional sommeliers, recognizing Banfi “for its educational initiatives in the culture of wine, research and innovation in vineyard and cellar, attention to the desires of the consumer, and its leadership in the marketplace,” according to Franco Maria Ricci, president of the AIS. The awards ceremony is held annually to recognize the best of Italy’s wine world in eleven catergories, including the best of several types of wine as well as restaurant wine list, producer, journalist, and, of course, sommelier. The special achievement award is also an annual rite, recognizing outstanding overall accomplishment in the wine world. Cavaliere John F. Mariani, family proprietor and founder of Castello Banfi, was on hand to accept the award from Mr. Ricci. He was made Knight of the Republic by Italy’s president in 1982 for his work in the field of wine. “No one person could have achieved these results,” said Mr. Mariani, crediting the work of his family and colleagues. “It is a team effort to help Montalcino, Italy, and lovers of fine wines the world over. Ours is a continual pursuit of excellence.” The award comes on the heels of April’s VinItaly wine fair, where Castello Banfi was declared Italy’s top winery at the prestigious International Enological Concourse for the 12th time in 17 years. Castello Banfi has also been awarded the “Premio Gran VinItaly an unprecedented four times, and in 2009 was honored with the VinItaly International Award for “distinguished achievements in the world of wine, leadership and dedication to excellence as one of the leading ambassadors of “Made in Italy” throughout the world. AIS also awarded Banfi its “Oscar del Vino” for Italy’s Best Wine Estate in 1999, and has frequently included the estate’s top offerings in its annual “Cinque Grappoli,” the highest ranking for individual wines. The Castello Banfi vineyard estate, located in Montalcino, Tuscany, was founded in 1978 by US brothers John and Harry Mariani of Banfi Vintners, America’s leading importer of fine wine. Castello Banfi is the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for Exceptional Environmental, Ethical and Social Responsibility (ISO 14001 and SA8000) as well as an International Leader in Customer Satisfaction (ISO 9001:2000) by the International Standard Organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. Castello Banfi has become a hallmark for Tuscan hospitality and food, and includes a classic Taverna, Enoteca, private glass museum, balsamic cellars, winery tours, and a five star Borgo with luxury rooms and suites.