Purpose – To examines strategies that have locked the Australian wine industry into a price‐sensitive, commodity wine market. The paper seeks to explain the inherent weakness of these strategies and their inability to address current challenges and opportunities. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses empirical research data gathered from 100 SME wine firms. These firms were selected using a stratified random sampling technique. Four states were covered – New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia – with all major wine regions in these states equally represented. There was careful sampling according to size, so that boutique, and small‐ and medium‐sized firms were represented. Non‐exporting firms were excluded. In each case either the CEO or the marketing manager was interviewed. Findings – The findings confirm the paper's hypothesis, that increasingly the Australian wine industry has become risk‐averse and locked into paradigms and organizational frameworks that are disconnecting from users and their requirements. The findings concur that greater differentiation of place, product, supply chains, and markets is required if the industry is to operate effectively within a multi‐dimensional landscape and continue to attract sustainable returns. Research limitations/implications – The paper was based largely upon user perceptions about current and future industry developments. It would be extremely valuable if future research could align these perceptions with performance data at industry and firm level to provide a more convincing map of R&D activity. Practical implications – This paper has significant implications and policy advice for future industry organization. The most immediate and important of these is a strategy of emphasizing differentiated, regionally‐identified products that target higher price‐points in major markets. The industry has already indicated that it intends moving in this direction. Originality/value – The original aspect of the paper is its organization ecology approach to the industry, in which national parameters are replaced by a perception of global operating landscapes. In this sense, users are not only participants, but also spectators and interpreters. The paper should be of value to researchers, policy‐makers and all industry stakeholders.
Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 28, 2008
Keywords: Winemaking; Supply chain management; Innovation; Risk analysis; Product differentiation; Australia
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