CASELLA Wines has this week posted the most devastating loss in its history more than $29 million but managing director John Casella has assured staff no jobs will be cut.
The consistently strong Australian dollar has crippled the company's export returns, resulting in a $29,893,434 million loss, which Mr Casella said was "by far the biggest loss" they had ever suffered.
While Casella's volume sales increased in the 2011-2012 financial year, Mr Casella said the margin squeeze forced by the exchange rate had dealt a severe blow.
When Casella launched its iconic Yellow Tail wine to the US in 2001, the Australian dollar sat at just 57 US cents but has since soared well above parity and remained there for most of this year.
Last week, an email was sent to Casella's 559 staff members warning them of the impending announcement but Mr Casella assured them it would be "business as usual" for the company.
"We have a strong balance sheet and we have excellent support from our financiers - as a family-owned company we can endure a lot more than a public company," Mr Casella said.
"It is a worry, but I don't feel anything major will happen.
"We have to consider that this is the first loss in a number of really good years - it is a setback but it is not a damaging setback."
Mr Casella stressed contracts with local growers would remain safe and employee numbers would remain stable.
However, if the strong dollar persists for another year, Mr Casella said it would force the company to increase prices, which could have devastating consequences.
"I don't believe the currency can stay where it is," he said.
"But we will have to make hard decisions if the currency doesn't balance out."
Casella launched its Arvo brewery in June this year and signed a $45 million partnership with Coca-Cola Amatil in August, a move Mr Casella said would boost the company's domestic trade.
Currently, Casella exports 95 per cent of its sales.
"I'm confident there's nothing I could have done or should have done," he said.
"History will show this dollar will leave a trail of business wrecks."
The Yenda floods in March cost the company $2.6 million and a substantial amount of the loss was due to loan write downs, according to Casella Chief Financial Officer David Alpen.
Mr Alpen said it was difficult to predict how the exchange rate would fare in future.
"We just have to wait and see, though we do follow it very closely," Mr Alpen said.
"But we still expect to crush about 170,000 tonnes this vintage so it will be trading as per normal."
Mr Alpen said overall shipments since July 1 this year were at their highest level in the company's history, which proved Casella's positive market share and bode well for the future.