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Rural idylls and urban economies: the making of metropolitan wine regions

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In our quest to understand wine industries and their location and development worldwide, much emphasis has been given to key environmental, cultural and economic factors. The concept of terroir is used widely to describe, delimit and promote favoured wine regions. In this, we see constructions of rurality that tend to render invisible important connections between wine regions and urban places. However, many if not most wine regions owe much to their urban neighbours. Cities are sources of labour, capital and customers. Indeed, many wine regions are, in effect, metropolitan wine regions that owe as much to their proximity to cities than they do to any putative environmental distinctiveness and advantages. Wineries in such places develop strategies to survive and prosper not by producing bottles of wine that are widely sold on global markets – and compete on the basis on price or global reputation – but rather because they develop strong and loyal local markets tied to urban economies and because they appeal to the rural idylls held by urban consumers. This paper explores the way urban places have been critical in the development of certain wine regions in New Zealand.
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Keywords: New Zealand; Wine regions; investment; labour; metropolitan regions; wine tourism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: SGEES, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

Publication date: July 3, 2019

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