Rural Entrepreneurship in the Wine Industry: Identifying Success Factors Among Small and Medium-Size

Co-Principal Investigators

Non-AFRE Co-Principle Investigators: PI - Fabio R. Chaddad ( University of Missouri and CO-PI Miguel I Gomez ( Cornell University

In the last decade we have observed the establishment of a growing number of small- and medium-sized wineries in cool climate wine regions.  As a result of this entrepreneurial activity, wine clusters are emerging in non-traditional regions.  These emerging wine clusters have the potential to become vectors of rural development as they foster the growth of related industries.  Most cool climate wineries are new, small, geographically dispersed, and inexperienced in wine production and marketing. 

In an ongoing research project and with input from industry participants, we have identified a set of challenges faced by start-up wineries that we seek to address in this proposal.  Our long-term goal is to increase the success rate (i.e. survival and growth) of start-up wineries and thereby foster the development of wine-based clusters in emerging cool climate regions.  Our integrated project has the following supporting objectives: 

  • Examine contractual mechanisms between wineries and grape growers and help the industry develop procurement strategies to reduce transaction costs, increase quality and winery performance;
  • Identify strategies to overcome distribution challenges of start-up wineries and increase access to non-local markets;
  • Examine the extent of inter-firm collaboration and develop collective action strategies to foster regional cluster development;
  • Establish an extension Community of Practice on Cool Climate Wine Regions;
  • Organize annual workshops allowing team members to present findings and ongoing research activities to industry stakeholders and jointly develop a strategic outreach plan for wine cluster development; and
  • Produce educational materials in various formats accessible to both professional and community audiences. 

This proposed integrated research-extension project supports the AFRE goals of enhancing the growth of rural entrepreneurship and the development of regional clusters.