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Challenges and progress in improving the quality and identity of Midwest U.S. Wines

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Winery owners in the Midwestern states of the United States have been working with each other and their state industry experts to improve the quality of their wines while also struggling to establish state and, at times, regional identities and overcome a widely-held perception that good wine is not made and cannot be made in the region. Drawing on a qualitative sociological study conducted over five years in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, this article examines the issues with which winery owners and industry specialists have worked to improve quality and establish marketable identities. Challenges include the sourcing of quality grapes, the status of hybrid grapes, the skill-level of winemakers, and the desire to meet demand and please a wide range of customer preferences. Industry efforts to address these challenges are highlighted.
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Keywords: Wine industry; distribution; perceived quality; wine culture; wine markets

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Publication date: January 2, 2019

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