US wine company Willamette Valley Vineyards has posted a marked slide in net profits in the third quarter, despite a slight lift in sales.

The Oregon-based firm, which specialises in producing Pinot Noir, said earlier this week that net profits in the three months to the end of September were down by 31% on the same period a year earlier, coming in at US$171,345. Net sales in the quarter held steady, however, rising by 5.5% to $4.6m.

For the nine months to the end of September, Willamette Valley saw H1 losses turn black with net profits hitting $111,288. The firm is still 83% down on net profits on the prior year, however. Net sales have inched up, by 1.6% to $12.25m.

“The economy is showing signs of life evidenced by our higher revenues,” said Jim Bernau, Willamette Valley's founder and president. “Now, we just need to work through some high cost of goods to get back to historical gross margins.”

For details of Willamette's H1 performance, click here.