Above: Joseph Kemble, Italian wine buyer at the Spec’s flagship store in Houston. Spec’s is one of the largest retail outlets in the U.S. with more than 170 stores.
According to data compiled last year by WineMonitor, Texas wine sales represent 7 percent of the total wine consumption in the U.S., coming in fourth place (in volume) behind California, Florida, and New York.
“But Texas,” write the authors of the report, “is the state with the biggest growth in the U.S. Over the last 10 years, wine imports have grown by 74 percent, making Texas the leading state for wine imports.”
Texas is part of what the authors call the “Belly of the South,” a swatch of the Southeastern United States where wine sales continue to grow at a rapid pace. Texas, they note, is the leader in this trend.
Only California has a bigger gross domestic product, they note. The number of residents with disposable income has been a big factor in the rapid growth of wine sales. Texas is the fastest growing state in the U.S. and Houston is poised to become the third largest city in America, overtaking Chicago in the next few years. Its business-friendly policies have positioned it as one of the country’s wealthiest populations.
According to data compiled by WineMonitor, Italian wine sales grew in Texas by more than 60 percent between 2012 and 2017. And today, Texans drink more wine from Italy than from any other European or South American country (including France and Spain).
As Italian wine sales have grown in the state, write the authors of the report, Texans are drinking more native grape varieties and more rosé from Italy than ever before.