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Wine, history, landscape: origin branding in Western Australia

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Purpose ‐ Wine is an integral part of so-called "Old World" nations, amalgamating with the local history and landscape, and providing a powerful "origin branding". To date, however, these dimensions have been discussed to a very limited extent in emerging "New World" wine regions, where the lack of a traditional heritage of wine making presents special challenges in terms of origin branding. The focus of most previous research has been on the viewpoints of consumers, not those of producers. This study seeks to explore these dimensions among small wine growers. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Using a qualitative approach, 42 interviews with winery operators from several emerging Western Australian wine regions were conducted. Findings ‐ In the absence of historical wine pioneers and traditions, winery operators in emerging wine-producing regions use alternative means for "origin branding" that emphasise heritage and landscape characteristics centring on the wider "rural idyll". These associations serve to forge a "vintage" identity for their industry, which essentially masks its youth for their region. Research limitations/implications ‐ In view of the more than 200 small wineries operating in Western Australia the number of respondents in the study may not allow for making generalisations of the state's wine industry. Practical implications ‐ The current growth in the number of wineries in the regions studied and the increasingly acknowledged quality of their wine product may help towards the establishment of their history and identity, thus contributing to origin branding over time. Originality/value ‐ The study explores the importance of history and landscape among winery operators in promoting their wineries and their wine products in the context of emerging wine regions, an area for the most part ignored in contemporary research.

Keywords: Australia; Brands; Emerging markets; History; Wines

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 24, 2008


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