The Napa-based winemaker The Chalone Wine Group reported a jump of 3% in its nine-month sales to 461,438 cases, compared to the same period last year.

However, net income for the first nine months of 2003 was US$883,000, compared to US$1,602,000 for the same period in 2002. The company said that a portion of higher net income for 2002 was attributed to the sale of the Carmenet brand name and inventory to Beringer Blass, which was completed in September 2002.

Diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of 2003 were $.03.

"Given the sluggish economy, intense competition from imports and the general wine glut, we're pleased to report our sales are up," said president and CEO Tom Selfridge. "These results show that the tactical changes we made last year, such as adding sales staff and competitive pricing, are paying off. However, we're not out of the woods yet. We are entering what is traditionally the busiest quarter of the year for the wine industry and we anticipate the marketplace to remain extremely competitive."

Selfridge added: "We are just wrapping up the 2003 harvest and it appears that grape yields are down and the quality is high. The lower yields seem to hold true throughout California, which will help the wine industry bring supply in line with demand in the future."