The Australian winemaker Peter Lehmann Wines said that as indicated at the half year trading it expected to post an after tax profit 10%-15% below last year.

It described conditions in all markets as "difficult". But said that higher levels of market support to protect and improve our strong brand position should result in a solid revenue result. 

"These higher support levels and a doubling of interest charges associated with the winery expansion are expected to deliver an after tax profit 10%-15% below last year. PLW remains confident that the momentum developing, particularly in overseas markets, places the company in a solid position for the future," it said in a statement.

The company also said that its harvest this year was down 16% on last year, with a total processed crush of 14,302 tonnes. The PLW intake was 9,506 tonnes (2002 11,561 tonnes) with contract crushing at 4,796 tonnes (2002 5,509 tonnes).

Although the Barossa Valley was not as adversely affected by the widespread drought conditions experienced throughout the rest of Australia, very dry weather leading up to vintage impacted on the crop levels, the company said.

Despite saying that the reduced crop levels were spread across all varieties, Lehmann said that when combined with existing stocks from the large 2002 vintage, there were sufficient quantities are available for future sales.

"PLW is comfortable with the volumes of wines held," it said.