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Benchmarking wine tourism development: The case of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Donald Getz (Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)
Graham Brown (International Business School, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

International Journal of Wine Marketing

ISSN: 0954-7541

Article publication date: 1 May 2006




This paper seeks to develop a framework for comparisons and benchmarking between wine tourism destinations.


A regional case study was undertaken, including data from a survey of 23 wineries in Canada's Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. The survey provides the winery perspective on development of wine tourism, as well as opinions on what should be done to improve wine tourism.


Wineries were found to be pursuing tourism developments, but kept little data on visitors and related spending. Their goals and opinions on what is needed in the region revealed that they are mostly oriented toward domestic, independent travelers. One hypothesis emerging from this case study is that the growth and increasing sophistication of wine tourism infrastructure, both at wineries and elsewhere in the region, is in large part a function of market potential. On the supply‐side, a critical mass can be facilitated through establishment of major, landmark wineries that are purpose‐built as tourist attractions.

Practical implications

Using this profile of the Okanagan, implications are drawn for comparisons and benchmarking among wine tourism destinations, including a suggested process and measures.

Research limitations/implications

The single case study limits generalizability to other destinations, and the achieved sample of wineries does not necessarily reflect the major corporate wineries in the Okanagan Valley. More systematic comparison of wine regions is recommended.


This research makes an original contribution for applying the concept and method of benchmarking to wine tourism destinations. It is of value to the wine industry, destination marketers, and host community planners.



Getz, D. and Brown, G. (2006), "Benchmarking wine tourism development: The case of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada", International Journal of Wine Marketing, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 78-97.



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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited