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The Wine Group Withdraws from Bidding for Golden State Vintners

The Wine Group Withdraws from Bidding for Golden State Vintners

News Editors/Food Writers

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 24, 2004

The Wine Group LLC announced today that it has withdrawn from the

bidding process for Golden State Vintners, Inc. (“GSV”) (Nasdaq:VINT)

“The Wine Group made a proposal to acquire GSV that, according to GSV’s board, was superior to the proposal previously made by O’Neill Acquisition Company, a newly formed company organized by the CEO of GSV and certain of his affiliates (the “O’Neill Group”),” said David B. Kent, CEO of The Wine Group. “GSV’s announcement made a point of noting that The Wine Group’s offer was not subject to a financing condition. But the merger agreement approved yesterday by GSV’s board with the O’Neill Group is still subject to a financing condition. If their financing does not come together, for whatever reason, the stockholders of GSV are left with no liquidity event. We don’t understand how a properly functioning board of directors, when presented with our offer, can agree to a transaction that is contingent on the ability of a newly formed company to raise such a substantial amount of money. The Wine Group’s offers to acquire GSV have never been conditioned on financing. We have concluded that under these circumstances it does not make sense for The Wine Group to bid against itself.”

The Wine Group is a San Francisco-based, management-owned company that produces such well known brands as Concannon, Glen Ellen, Corbett Canyon, Franzia, Foxhorn, Mogen David, Casarsa, Austin Vale, Morassutti and Tribuno. Founded in 1981 by a management buy-out of the wine assets of The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York, The Wine Group is currently the nation’s third largest wine producer.

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