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Muscadines, wineries and value-added products: an exploratory study
Purpose ‐ Muscadines grapes, the fruit of a vine native to the South East of the USA have been studied extensively, including their alleged beneficial health properties. To date, however, very little is known about the business side of muscadine growing. For instance, very limited information exists on whether wineries growing muscadines are currently processing their grapes into other value-added products. The present study seeks to explore these aspects from winery operators' points-of-view. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Telephone interviews, coupled with two face-to-face on-site interviews were conducted among 31 winery owners located in different states in the South East of the USA. Findings ‐ Overall, winery operators acknowledge the potential for the diversification and development of muscadine value-added products, including juice, jellies, fortified wines or those for pharmaceutical purposes. However, the limited supply of muscadine grapes or muscadine juice to satisfy demand for value-added products is an area of concern that several muscadine growers acknowledged. Also of concern are laws and regulations that are preventing winery operators from capitalizing on some muscadine products with alcohol content. Research limitations/implications ‐ The low number of participants in comparison with the much larger number of existing muscadine wineries limits the generalisability of the findings. Practical implications ‐ With potentially greater demand for muscadine-related products in the future, industry support and the development of new initiatives are needed to facilitate the process of value-added muscadine product development for the benefit of operators, the industry and consumers. Originality/value ‐ The study focuses on the business-side of muscadine production, an area that to a great extent has been neglected in contemporary research.
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