Willamette Valley Vineyards, the US wine group, has reported rises in profits and sales for the first nine months of 2009.

Net profits rose by 45% to around US$667,000 for the nine months to the end of September, compared to the same period of last year Willamette Valley said yesterday (16 November).

Third quarter net profits rose to $248,000 from $243,600 last year.

Net sales for the nine months also increased, to $12m from $11.3m last year.

Jim Bernau, founder and president of the Oregon-based winery, said: "The economy is weak but there are more placement opportunities to be found, through increased sales staffing."

Operating profits for the nine months rose to $1.2m, compared to 847,000 last year, despite a slight decline in the third quarter.