Willamette Valley Vineyards' controller is to step down.

Speaking on Friday (29 June), the company said that Sean Cary would leave his position as controller at the winery to join Cascade Structural Laminators but will continue to assist the firm as chair of the audit committee.

CPA Ted Gwin has been appointed interim controller, while a search process has been initiated for a permanent appointment.

Willamette Valley founder and president Jim Bernau said: "Our small public company is performing very well despite the heavy and growing regulatory burdens imposed by the federal government. One of Sean's biggest contributions was finding cost effective ways to manage these burdens."

Willamette Valley Vineyards recently posted a marked slip in its first quarter net income, due to "limited inventories of key varietals which have been allocated to its distributors to be shipped on a scheduled basis over the calendar year".

The Oregon wine company said in May that income for the three months to 31 March dropped by 34% to US$234,263 from $357,294 in the corresponding period a year earlier. Total revenue also fell, less dramatically, by 3% to $3.6m from $3.7m. Despite these pressures, Willamette noted that it had had the second highest first quarter earnings since its inception.

Last year, Willamette saw full-year net profit rise 10% to $1.3m from $1.2m in 2005. Revenues were also up, by 8% to $14.9m.