Innovation is increasingly seen as an important element of wine tourism (Hall & Mitchell, 2008). However, despite the significance of wine tourism for wine sales, especially from smaller scale wine producers, for regional branding and for rural tourism development (Hall, 2012), there is little systematic research on innovation within this growing sector, especially from wine producers. This chapter therefore specifically examines the innovation practices of New Zealand wineries that are engaged in wine tourism. Wine tourism is defined as ëvisitation to vineyards, wineries, wine festivals and wine shows for which grape wine tasting and/or experiencing the attributes of a grape wine region are the prime motivating factors for visitorsí (Hall, 1996, p. 1). Wine tourism has been recognized as providing potential opportunities for wine producers to add value to their existing market offerings (Mitchell and Hall, 2006). However, in New Zealand, as is the case in many other wine producing nations, wine producers are also operating in a volatile marketplace prone to both economic fluctuation (Deloittes, 2010) and oversupply (Euromonitor International, 2012). As a direct result of this a relative degree of caution with respect to the adoption of new business and environmental practices currently exists within the New Zealand wine industry (Deloittes, 2010; Baird & Hall, 2013). Pickersgill and Edwards (2005, p. 8) suggest that ëInnovation is a complex, multiple dimensional process that involves scientific and technical expertise, technical and educational infrastructure, integrated product and supplier networks and effective management and marketing strategies and government supportí.
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