Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

Wine, the Tasty Small Business

Wine was a $17 billion retail business in the U.S. last year. While it is generally accepted that somewhat fewer than 20% of wineries account for 89% of this volume, the remaining 80% of wineries still have a significant market (approximately $3.5 billion). While corporate wineries have seamless access to all of the functions from land selection, planting, picking production and marketing, small volume end wine businesses, in all practical concerns, are largely a function of supply chain alliances. There is however, an intangible element that has significant impact on these businesses. Given the constraints of this relationship, what can small volume end wine small businesses do to attract buyers to their wines, while maintaining the "artistic" integrity of their product? Within the review of the market share dilemma, five major issues are addressed. In essence, to veer away from any deficit modeling, we seek an understanding from the literature, of why customers choose to buy one brand and not a wine from a competitor. Where the customer chooses a competitor, what are the criteria that would suggest this choice? Is there any action that the wine industry can take to encourage participation allowing the business to be successful in the future in the face of changing demand? Through an understanding of the underlying ideologies the business, based on customer preference and ideology can be profitably maintained. Concentration on core ideology enables small volume end, businesses that enjoy enduring success, to remain committed to excellence in their production, while their strategies and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. The diversity of these elements, is studied here to create a greater understanding of the difference between the business, that 'makes money' and that which operates to provide 'income substitution' or conversely 'lifestyle'. Furthermore, the logistics of cartage, storage, sales, and promotion, along with the characteristics of the wine are significant concerns of the industry. Size differentiates. Some markets are too large for the local boutique or small grower to contemplate alone. Greater levels of changing market knowledge will assist small volume end, small wine businesses to better position themselves for success based on their own small business values and evolving industry norms.