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The role of network relationships in small wineries’ internationalization: A case study from Marche, Italy

Tiia Vissak (School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia)
Barbara Francioni (Department of Economics, Society and Politics (DESP), University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, Urbino, Italy)
Fabio Musso (Department of Economics, Society and Politics (DESP), University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, Urbino, Italy)

International Journal of Wine Business Research

ISSN: 1751-1062

Article publication date: 13 March 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the role of tourist-generated and other network relationships in small Italian wineries’ internationalization.

Design/methodology/approach

It is based on 14 cases of which four are discussed in detail. All 14 cases are summarized in two tables and analyzed in the Discussion section.

Findings

Most firms did not pre-plan their foreign activities. International wine tourism was a major source for creating the contacts necessary for their internationalization: they created relationships/networks in tourists’ home markets and, as a result, expanded there either through selling directly to tourists or to the importers they recommended. In addition, they relied on contacts created at trade fairs or by friends/relatives. Some internationalization attempts failed, as the firms were passive and lacked long-term strategic plans. Thus, these producers have not fully realized the potential of wine tourists’ contacts and other network relationships in their internationalization.

Originality/value

It shows how wineries benefited from tourists’ networks and other co-operative relationships and how, as a result, they started exporting, but also which problems they faced. These topics have not received considerable research attention yet.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Institutional Research Funding IUT20-49 of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and by the Estonian Research Council’s grant PUT 1003.

Citation

Vissak, T., Francioni, B. and Musso, F. (2017), "The role of network relationships in small wineries’ internationalization: A case study from Marche, Italy", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 37-57. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWBR-07-2015-0025

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited