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Several studies in management science have called for a better understanding of the experience economy approach to develop wine tourism. Few studies, however, have analysed experiential dimensions in the context of French wine-growing regions. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the difference between what wine tourism providers consider relevant in their market offer and what customers expect from their wine tourism experience. A new categorisation of wine tourists’ expectations based on Pine and Gilmore’s (1998) four realms model and Quadri-Felliti and Fiore’s model (2012) are developed.Design/methodology/approachA mixed methodology, qualitatively analysing 17 semi-structural interviews with the main wine tourism stakeholders in the Alsace region in north-east France and quantitatively analysing 233 questionnaires on wine tourists’ expectations and behaviours are adopted.FindingsThe study reveals a difference between experiential offers predicated on an educational approach and the explicit expectations of wine tourists (combining aesthetics, conviviality and authenticity, whose central focus is an encounter with the winemaker). Overall, the findings point to a need for greater inclusion of the experiential aspect in the offer designed for wine tourists.Originality/valueThe study identifies a gap between the educational dimension that professionals tend to promote in their offers and the real expectations of wine tourists who express more interest in the aesthetic dimension provided by an attractive visit environment and an enjoyable experience. At the heart of the authentic experience for wine tourists is meeting the winegrower, making authenticity a major factor.
International Journal of Wine Business Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 25, 2021
Keywords: Wine tourism providers; Wine tourism expectations; Conviviality; Aesthetics; Alsace wine region in France; France; Consumers; Organisation; Experiential marketing; Questionnaire; Wine tourism; Semi-guided interviews
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