Scheid Vineyards has posted a sharp fall in third-quarter sales and earnings.

The wine grape and bulk wine producer said yesterday (16 November) that grape sales for the three months to 30 September were down 41% to US$7.9m.

Net income also fell, by 77% to US$322,000 resulting in earnings of US$0.06 per share, down from US$0.26 per share reported in 2004.

For the first nine months of the year, revenues dropped 39% lower, dropping to US$9.795m. Scheid also posted a net loss of US$622,000.

"This substantial reduction in revenues was due to the timing of grapes sales, caused primarily by cool weather during the 2005 growing season," said Mike Thomsen, Scheid's CFO, said.

"Harvest started slowly and has run about three weeks later than normal. As of 30 September, approximately 32% of the company's producing acres had been harvested, compared to 80% as of the same date in 2004."

Scott D. Scheid, CEO, said: "It is clear that this will be the largest grape crop in the 33-year history of the company. We expect our grape crop tonnage to be approximately 50% larger than in 2004.

"Industry-wide results are not yet available for 2005, but it is projected to be one of the largest grape harvests in the history of California - with excellent quality overall."