Wine tourism development and marketing strategies in Southwest Michigan

International Journal of Wine Marketing 01/2006; 18(1):45-60. DOI: 10.1108/09547540610657678

ABSTRACT Purpose – This research investigated wine tourism development and marketing in southwest Michigan, a longtime viticultural, but emerging wine tourism region. The aims involved discovering the motivations, expectations, and successes of Southwest Michigan Wine Trail member wineries in developing horizontal and vertical alliances. Design/methodology/approach – Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with individuals in charge of the wineries’ marketing activities (i.e. marketing directors and members of the marketing departments, winery owners). These interviews were recorded and transcribed. Activities fostered through the horizontal and vertical alliances were identified. Findings – Alliances along the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail have furthered the development and marketing of wine tourism. The trail's member wineries have formed strong horizontal relationships, which include joint advertising, promotion, and production. They have also built vertical relationships with tour operators, lodging businesses, and restaurants that promote individual wineries as well as the wine region. Wine tourism has provided wineries with another sales outlet and established the wine region as a destination. Originality/valve – This study contributed to the limited literature on the development and marketing of wine tourism in Michigan and in other emerging wine regions in the United States. For those working to further such rural/agri-tourism, this research indicated that there is considerable growth potential through an increased presence in restaurants and in packaging with accommodations. Adding new specialized wine tours, wine festivals,geographical target markets, and a focus on wine education on-site and at educational institutions can expand wine tourism and sales.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study investigated wine tourism constraints from a market segmentation perspective to understand the potential importance they may have on preference and behavioral intentions to visit wine regions. Using constraints scales customized to the wine tourism context, a factor-cluster segmentation approach generated five homogenous subgroups: Highly Constrained, Cost & Time Conscious, Family Togetherness, Unmotivated, and Minimally Constrained. Analysis of variance tests indicated that preference and intentions to visit wine regions were significantly different among the five clusters. In particular, two cluster groups representing Minimally Constrained and Family Togetherness were found to offer the most utility for further wine tourism market segmentation research. Implications for all cluster groups regarding unique sociodemographic characteristics and behavioral intentions were discussed. This study provides future academic research opportunities pertaining to the application of wine tourism constraints scales. Destination marketing organizations can apply these findings toward the development of effective target market strategies.
    Journal of Hospitality &amp Tourism Research 06/2014; · 0.94 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present study investigates consumer awareness as it relates to muscadine grapes, a southern US food, and the images that muscadines evoke among southern consumers. The written comments of 189 southern residents were gathered in a southern college town. Respondents' images only partly demonstrate their attachment to this traditional food. For example, while over a third of respondents' comments relate to childhood images (e.g. picking grapes), this finding was much more prevalent among more mature respondents. Overall, a sense of cultural detachment or de-acculturation is suggested regarding the tradition of consuming muscadine by-products (wine, jams), or being involved in harvesting or picking this food in the wild. Surprisingly, the association between muscadine grapes and their health-related components is almost non-existent in respondents' images (5.8%) despite the fact that a large volume of recent information exists referring to beneficial properties found in muscadine grapes. The findings underline the importance for a region to promote consumption and knowledge of its local products, as well as to expand that knowledge outside its boundaries. Such knowledge may assist in the preservation of southern food traditions and potentially market the region as a food and/or culinary tourism destination.
    Tourism Planning & Development. 08/2012; 9(3).
  • The South African geographical journal, being a record of the proceedings of the South African Geographical Society 06/2013; 95(1):16-37. · 0.65 Impact Factor