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Challenges in Italian wine routes: managing stakeholder networks

Ilenia Bregoli (University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Martin Hingley (University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Giacomo Del Chiappa (Department of Economics and Business, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy and School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Valeria Sodano (University of Naples, Federico II, Portici, Italy)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 11 April 2016




The aim of this article is to analyse how wine and tourism operators understand the concept of a wine route, to determine the impact that definition can have on the extent to which stakeholders working within distinct, but related sectors (namely wine production, tourism, food and hospitality) collaborate with each other and share knowledge.


By adopting the theoretical lens of “boundary objects” (understood as tangible or intangible entities that allow the sharing of meaning to different groups and facilitate collaboration), this article uses a qualitative approach, based on semi-structured interviews of 20 informants working in three different wine routes in Italy. Analysis of data is carried out to highlight the similarities and differences between the wine and tourism (including identified associated service) industries.


Wine routes can be considered boundary objects that, if clearly defined by local stakeholders, can facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration. Problems in collaboration could be explained by an initial mis-definition by stakeholders of what a wine route and its remit are.

Research limitations/implications

As the theoretical lens of “boundary objects” was applied for the first time to wine routes and tourism, further research is necessary to validate its application.

Practical implications

It is suggested that managers of wine routes involve all stakeholders in discussions to achieve a common understanding on what a wine route is, and its role in the promotion of “place” (geographical context of the wine route). Only if this is done successfully, is it possible to achieve collaboration.


This article uses the concept of “boundary objects” (a concept traditionally applied to the study of innovation) to the analysis of wine routes and provides further theoretical and managerial insights concerning networking between wine and tourism sectors, taking a supply-side perspective.



Bregoli, I., Hingley, M., Del Chiappa, G. and Sodano, V. (2016), "Challenges in Italian wine routes: managing stakeholder networks", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 204-224.



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