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Direct wine marketing channels
About the Guest Editor
Johan BruwerConvenor of the Wine Business Group at The University of Adelaide in Australia the largest university wine business school in the world. Prior to embarking on an academic career, he held senior management positions in private companies. Dr Bruwer has an extensive and ever-growing list of academic journal and other research publications and has completed more than 100 research projects in wine industries around the world. He is also active in the wine industry consulting field and has done work in six countries and 34 wine regions to date. One of his key areas of interest is direct wine marketing channels, specifically wine tourism.
Article Type: Guest editorial From: International Journal of Wine Business Research, Volume 20, Issue 1.
This first issue of 2008 is a special edition of IJWBR on direct wine marketing channels. Many wine businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to secure retail shelf space in the mainstream retailer-to-consumer channels such as the supermarket grocery store chains, large national liquor retailers and even in specialist wine stores. The best strategy to ensure their survival is often a stronger focus on the direct marketing channels to wine consumers.
This issue of IJWBR is therefore a good opportunity for highlighting both conceptual and empirical research into the role and impact of the direct marketing channels for wine.
Without the great support I received from the team of reviewers whom I first had to assemble, this special edition would not have been possible. I would therefore like to express a special word of thanks to the following people who have provided timely and insightful reviews for this special edition for one or more articles (other than their own in cases where their own article is published in this edition):
Included in this edition are five articles by researchers from France, UK, Australia, New Zealand and the USA on various aspects of direct wine marketing channels. These cover a broad spectrum from tasting rooms to online wine marketing.
Focusing on the tasting room which is generally the most important direct wine marketing channel across the board, the special edition kicks off with the first article (Fountain, Fish and Charters) stressing the importance of and the relationship between the winery tasting room and the brand loyalty of consumers. Using a mystery shopper survey followed by focus group discussion with respondents who visited winery tasting rooms in the Swan Valley wine region of Western Australia, the authors found that the need for establishing ongoing relationships with winery visitors post-visit is vital. Smaller wineries succeeded in establishing this emotional relationship more effectively than large wineries in general. The enduring nature of the relationship post-visit is of the utmost importance for practitioners and scholars alike to recognize and further explore the nature of.
Also in the tasting room context, the second article (Olsen and Thach) presents a model for promoting sales in what is termed "winery visitor centres" in three well-known wine regions of California, USA, viz. Napa Valley, Sonoma County and Paso Robles. The model is a five-stage one consisting of introduction, needs assessment, building of trust, purchase assistance and ongoing relationship stages. The model is useful in that it has been customised to the unique type of retail establishment which the winery visitor centre is, one that requires more relationship building efforts than most other types. The article emphasizes the fact that employees often fail to engage visitors in conversation and do not properly utilise the important opportunity that the visit presents to tell visitors about the history, in other words the "story", of the winery.
Stepping into the Old World wine industry, the third article by Guru and Duquesnois examines the direct marketing channels of the French wine industry. The article points to the fact that French wine producers use a variety of direct and indirect marketing channels and that their importance vary with the size of the producer. It was found that an integrated distribution strategy was used by most of the 439 wine producers who participated in the survey. The article presents insightful expositions of the relative importance of the various direct wine marketing modes in France.
Moving to the online side of direct wine marketing channels, the fourth article (Nowak and Newton) illustrates that the attitudes of Millennial wine consumers from Northern California, USA were influenced pre-visit by their positive evaluations of wineries' websites. Using a two-step process which involved a visit by the respondents of first the winery's website and thereafter its tasting room, it was found that website quality was a significant predictor of increased trust in the winery and positive perceptions of the quality of the wine. Winery owners and managers may therefore find benefits in attracting young wine consumers to visit the website first as a source of information before an actual visit of the winery takes place.
The fifth article (Quinton and Harridge-March) focuses on the all important issue of instilling trust in the online wine purchasing situation in the United Kingdom and the effects thereof on consumer behaviour. Using an interactive internet-based questionnaire as a data collection tool, this article reports on the research information gathered from more than 1,000 current wine consumers. It found that the sooner trust is established between the seller and the consumer and the easier the consumer finds the purchase process, the higher the likelihood that they will be tempted to trial online wine purchasing. The findings also suggest that the on- and off-line marketing of wine should not be seen as discrete channels but viewed as an integrated whole.
Finally, the response to the call for papers for this special edition has been very good. It is therefore suggested that a special edition on direct wine marketing channels can become a regular feature on say, a bi-annual basis in IJWBR as it is an area creating strong research interest and undergoing rapid evolvement at present.
Johan BruwerGuest Editor