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| THE STATE: BEVERAGES

Mondavi Shares Rise on Signs of Rebound

November 25, 1998| Bloomberg News

Robert Mondavi Corp.'s shares rose as much as 13% on signs of a sales rebound in the winemaker's popular Woodbridge chardonnay, which had been hurt by a shortage of grapes. Mondavi shares rose $2.63 to close at $34.88 on Nasdaq. The shares earlier reached $36.50. The Oakville-based maker of premium-priced wines had been hurt by a small grape crop in 1996, which reduced sales of Woodbridge chardonnay, its biggest seller. By the end of last year, it had to ration shipments to retailers, and when the 1997 vintage became available in March, sales didn't rebound as quickly as Mondavi had forecast. The poor Woodbridge sales earlier this year caused Mondavi's fiscal fourth-quarter and 1998 earnings to miss estimates. But Woodbridge sales rose 7% in the fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30, said Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette analyst Skip Carpenter. Mondavi's Woodbridge line is closely followed by analysts and investors because it accounts for an estimated 70% of the company's sales.

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