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Sir Richard Branson Launches Virgin Vines

September 12, 2005, Louisville, KY — Watch out wine snobs, there’s a new wine on the shelf that refuses to be ignored. Introducing Virgin Vines — the wine that defies long- standing stereotypes to make wine fun and approachable. Everything about Virgin Vines challenges the traditional wine establishment — from the advertising, to the label design, to the innovative closure.

In partnership with Brown-Forman Wines, Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group of Companies, unveiled Virgin Vines on September 12, 2005, in New York — first at Bryant Park during Olympus Fashion Week and then later that evening at a private event at Aer Lounge, a trendy club in the meatpacking district. The party at Aer was a wine tasting — Virgin Style — complete with girls dancing on wine barrels and mini Virgin Vines bottles served from beer tubs. No swirling, nosing or wine speak was allowed and corks were tossed out at the door. The wine was served in red Virgin glasses and guests were invited to “drink it how they wanted.”

“Wine, like life, is meant to be enjoyed. All the pomp and ceremony currently associated with wine just gets in the way of enjoying it. The Virgin brand is known for its irreverent and non-traditional approach to cultural and business practices and Virgin Vines brings that same attitude to wine,” said Branson.

Virgin Vines is for young adult consumers who are just beginning to discover the enjoyment of wine, but are often turned off by traditional wine imagery and attitudes. Virgin Vines breaks the mold of wine by challenging conventional practices with its vibrant packaging and memorable branding. Virgin Vines Chardonnay is a cool, crisp white wine with a smooth flirtatious character. Virgin Vines Shiraz is a big, bold red wine full of attitude.

“Virgin Vines takes a non-traditional and less intimidating approach to wine, making it engaging, fun, and most importantly, approachable for consumers,” said Don Freytag, Brown-Forman brand director.

Virgin Vines advertising and marketing materials are designed with an attitude, an edge that you won’t find anywhere else in the industry. These promotional materials playfully poke fun at traditional wine reviews and stodgy wine descriptors by rating the wine on a scale of one to ten, much as you would a person.

Virgin Vines has a distinctive package with a tall elegant bottle shape and an edgy painted label wrapping 360 degrees around the bottle. Virgin Vines is also the first wine in the industry to use the innovative, cork-free screw top closure called BoBTM (Best of Both worlds). In addition to making the wine easier to open and reseal than traditional corks, this new closure provides a premium look, quality seal, and no risk of cork taint.

Virgin Vines Chardonnay and Shiraz are currently available nationwide in the U.S., the Caribbean, and in Canada beginning in October. The wines are available in 750ml bottles for a retail price of $9.99 each, and a PET 187ml four-pack which retails for $8.99. Virgin Vines is produced and marketed by Brown-Forman Wines.

Virgin, a leading branded venture capital organization, is one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow very successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, to transportation, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays, publishing, and retailing. Virgin has created more than 200 companies worldwide, employing approximately 35,000 people, in 29 countries.

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

For more information on Virgin Vines, contact Maggie Schneider, Public Relations Manager, Brown-Forman, at 502-774-7140.

For further information on Richard Branson and the Virgin Group of Companies, contact Lori Levin-Hyams, VP of Corporate Communications, Virgin Management LTD, at 609-897-7865.