Willamette Valley Vineyards has seen a halving of profits in its latest quarter contribute to net losses in the first six months of this year.

The Oregon-based wine firm said late yesterday (16 August) that net profits for the three months to the end of June came in at US$128,287 – down from $253,784 a year ago. Operating profits were also markedly down, to $263,267 versus $457,924. Sales inched up by just over 1% in the quarter, however, to $4.09m.

The company blamed the drop in gross profits along with an increase in sales, general and administrative expenses of 3.7% over last year's Q2 as being the main factors in the net profits fall.

For the year so far, Willamette has posted net losses of $60,057 against net profits of $418,940 in H1 2009. Sales were flat at $7.65m, but last year's operating profits of $773,284 turned to losses of $9,490 in the six-month period.

“The cost of goods in sales of current vintages is high, depressing gross profits combined with stronger selling effort are decreasing operating income,” said Willamette's founder and president, Jim Bernau. “The 2009 vintage reflects historical costs which should allow gross margins to return to typical levels.”

For details of Willamette's Q1 performance, click here.