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The business models of small family wineries

Michael Browne (Adelaide Business School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Peter Balan (UniSA Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Noel Lindsay (Adelaide Business School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)

Journal of Family Business Management

ISSN: 2043-6238

Article publication date: 4 June 2020

Issue publication date: 3 May 2021




The business model plays a key role in the survival and success of any business. In the family business context, the business model includes more than purely economic variables, and it is vital to recognise and identify these for sound business decision-making. This empirical and grounded research clarifies the nature of the business model for small family wineries and, for the first time, specifies four key non-economic or socio-emotional wealth dimensions of the business models for these enterprises.


The nature of business models is identified by analysing qualitative data from in-depth interviews with decision-makers in small family wineries in Australia. This was done using an abductive approach that produces maps identifying the key dimensions of their business models.


This research supports the construct of socio-emotional wealth by clarifying the non-economic sources of value in these businesses, while not ignoring economic sources of value. In particular, this grounded study identifies “being special”, “tradition”, “relationships” and “control” as key dimensions of socio-emotional value.

Research limitations/implications

This research provides empirical support for the emerging view that non-economic value should be incorporated into the business model construct. In particular, it specifies four key dimensions of socio-emotional wealth in the firm that are incorporated in a proposed empirical model of the business model of family wine businesses that is appropriate for further study. This research was carried out with cases in one industry that were as similar as possible to obtain robust findings and provides the basis for generalisation through replication in other industries and in other categories of family businesses.

Practical implications

This research has significant practical implications associated with the concept of value. The particular dimensions of value as perceived by business owners need to be considered explicitly by business owners and advisors in their strategic and operational decision-making.


Small family wineries represent most enterprises operating in the global wine industry. This research study provides empirical support for the role of socio-emotional wealth, or the non-economic components, in their business models. In particular, this study specifies key dimensions for socio-emotional wealth, and the findings have conceptual as well as practical value.



Browne, M., Balan, P. and Lindsay, N. (2021), "The business models of small family wineries", Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 223-237.



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