Cosentino Signature Wines has warned that operating losses for 2006 will come in slightly higher than expected.

The Napa Valley-based winery said in a trading update yesterday (24 January) that, while revenues grew last year, operating loss was likely to be in the region of US$3.4m. Losses were greater than current expectations, Cosentino said, due to slightly lower gross margins and an increase in operating expenses, Cosentino said in a trading update.

The Napa Valley-based winery expects to exceed market expectations with revenues of US$7.9m to the year-end 2006, saying that trading conditions have improved.

When provisions to the final accounts are realised, including loss on the sale of bulk wine from the 2006 and earlier vintages and minor losses on sale of slow moving packaged goods, Cosentino's total net loss before tax could be around $5m.

The wine company said it remains in discussions with lenders about long term funding, which is expected to last until March. Until then, Cosentino said it is seeking a further short-term loan, convertible into equity, of $0.75m from an entity majority-owned by Michael Forman, a non-executive director of Cosentino.