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Regional dynamics in the globalising wine industry: the case of Marlborough, New Zealand

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The rapid expansion of the New Zealand wine industry has rested largely on a specific wine commodity form, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Global demand for a specialised product has provided the impetus for substantial development at the regional level, an increasingly complex industry structure, and for the intrusion of international capital. This paper explores the contests and relations within the industry through attention to the commodity's value-added chain, wherein recent developments are interpreted as a contest over the brand rents. The contemporary situation therefore may be explained through overlapping organisational and geographic framings of these relations: producer versus buyer-driven dynamics; regional–national and global interests; and inter- and intra-corporate strategies. The commercial contest for control of the region-varietal commodity reveals some paradoxical outcomes in which the region is reaffirmed as a site of investment in an evidently globalised industry, and the significance of who controls what fraction of the value chain is re-asserted.
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Keywords: Marlborough; New Zealand; brand rents; wine industry

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Geography, Geology & Environmental Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand ; [email protected], Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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