Purpose – The purpose of this empirical research is to identify the distinguishing operating characteristics of wineries that use what is alleged to be the most profitable channel of distribution for marketing wine in the USA: the wine club. Design/methodology/approach – The research design entails the contrasting of the Web site-reflected operating features of wineries that support wine clubs with wineries that do not. Findings – Support was found for the great majority of operating features identified in the literature as likely characterizing the operations of wineries with wine clubs. A notable exception concerns the lack of confirmation of hypotheses concerning “Wine 2.0” variables. Research limitations/implications – In the apparent pursuit of higher profits, owners and managers of wineries with wine clubs more frequently adopt operating features that expose them to objective competitive comparisons than do owners and managers with other wineries. The former are also more prone to advertise on their Web sites a variety of offers that collectively constitute a more valuable quid pro quo in their relationships with consumer buyers than appears to be the case with other wineries. Strategically, results demonstrate that a winery’s adoption of a wine club is not a part of an evolutionary process of wineries in general. Originality/value – There has been no other published empirical research that concerned the identification of distinguishing operating features of wineries that use what has been argued to be the most profitable channel for marketing wine at retail in the USA: the wine club channel. Winery owners and managers will find particular value in the results and implications of the research.
International Journal of Wine Business Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 11, 2014