Willamette Valley Vineyards has acquired three new vineyard sites.

The Oregon-based winery said late last week that it has acquired the sites in the Willamette Valley, adjacent to its current operations.

The vineyards, with a total up-front cost of US$1.5m, will require an additional $5m to develop into producing vineyards.

"These additions will be planted in Pinot Noir and farmed according to environmentally sustainable standards - increasing our total planted acreage we will own or lease to around 500 acres," said president Jim Bernau.

The newly-acquired sites include15 acres at the Estate Vineyard south of Salem, 80 acres at the Elton Vineyard in Yamhill County and six acres at Tualatin Estate Vineyard near Forest Grove.

Bernau has also secured an additional 102 acres adjacent to Elton Vineyards on a 34 year lease.

Last month Willamette Valley posted a marked fall in profits for the first half, blaming "substantial", one-time accounting and legal expenses for its wholesale department, Bacchus Fine Wines. Net profit for the six months to the end of June more than halved, to US$217,625 from $499,440 a year earlier.