Wine Sales Increase in the U.S.

The U.S. came in number one in wine consumption for 2011.  International Wine and Spirit Research says the U.S. consumed almost 4 billion bottles of wine last year.

Blue Ostrich Vineyard and Winery is a new player in the Texoma wine industry.  Only being open to the public for a few months, the owners say already they have seen the benefits of being in the wine business even in this economy.

"In this difficult economy people are making cut backs in certain areas.  Maybe they don't take as many vacations, but I think they do splurge on the small things," says Patrick Whitehead, the owner of Blue Ostrich.  "I think a lot of people here in Texas and around the U.S. are enjoying a good glass of wine."

The International Wine and Spirits Research agrees.  They say even with wine prices rising in 2011, sales were up in the U.S.

Patrick and Julie Whitehead say already costumers have been good to them.  "They have been real receptive of our wines."

The Blue Ostrich opened its doors to the public in September.  This winery is the new name in town, but with the number of U.S. and Texas wine costumers growing, they have already seen their sales take off.

"We started out selling mostly just out of our tasting room, however there are a couple of retail spots that are showing interest in carrying our wines."  Whitehead says he knew of the growing interest in wine consumption and the growth specifically in Texas.

"We saw a real opportunity here.  Texas is tied with Virginia as the number five grape producer and wine production state so we've got a ways to catch up with California, but we are on our way," says Whitehead.

The way U.S. sales went in 2011, the Whiteheads say they are looking forward to 2012 and what business will bring.

"I think as this year progresses we hope to see our wines available in more places.  Wine is one of those things that you don't have to spend a lot of money to feel like you're treating yourself in a special way," says Whitehead.

Research shows wine consumption is expected to grown another 10% in the next four years in the U.S.

Taelor Rian, Newschannel 6.