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Larger and better: Examining how winery size and foreign investments interact with sustainability attitudes and practices

Nathalie Spielmann (Department of Marketing, NEOMA Business School, Reims, France)

International Journal of Wine Business Research

ISSN: 1751-1062

Article publication date: 19 June 2017




Wineries today are faced with the prospect of having to include environmental sustainability into their practices but implementation can be hard, complicated or even undesired. This research aims to examine firm features, specifically winery size and foreign direct investment, as potential sources of variability regarding environmental sustainability attitudes and practices.


Questionnaires were administered via telephone interviews with 63 wineries in France. Production surface and wine activities in other countries were the independent variables examined as potentially predicting environmental sustainability attitudes and practices, leading to competitive positioning and perceived firm success.


The findings clearly show that bigger wineries are more likely to practice environmental sustainability, but they do not necessarily have more positive attitudes toward environmental sustainability. For winery managers, firm size and environmental sustainability practices interact because they are perceived to lead to competitive advantages such as augmented product quality and better innovations. Larger firms are also more sensitive to micro pressures emanating from customers, competitors and distributors regarding environmental sustainability. Finally, wineries engaging in foreign direct investments have more positive attitudes toward and engage in more environmental sustainability practices than firms that remain domestic.


Rather than comparing firms that are environmentally sustainable versus firms that are not, this research examined actual firm characteristics that may influence management’s propensity to engage in environmental sustainability practices. This research provides explanations for why there are augmented environmental sustainability practices by larger wineries and the sources of subjective norms encouraging larger wineries, versus smaller wineries, to practice environmental sustainability.



The author acknowledges Abso Conseil for their help with the data collection and is grateful for the Seed Money Grant (ref. no. 201516-02-07-01) provided by NEOMA Business School that permitted this research to take place. Finally, the author would like to thank Beverly Tyler (North Carolina State University), Brooke Lahneman (University of Oregon), Marco Minciullo and Daniele Cerrato (Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore), Greg Young (North Carolina State University) and Allan Discua Cruz (Lancaster University) for their insight during the questionnaire development.


Spielmann, N. (2017), "Larger and better: Examining how winery size and foreign investments interact with sustainability attitudes and practices", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 178-194.



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