Sustainable winegrowing practices and wine tourism in Australian and New Zealand cool climate winegrowing regions : a longitudinal and comparative context.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This study examines wineries’ perceptions towards wine tourism and sustainable winegrowing practices in New Zealand. In order to investigate and contextualise the current situation in New Zealand the National Wineries’ Survey is revisited and extended to provide a longitudinal time series of data from the New Zealand wine industry. This data is also utilised to provide a comparison of the New Zealand situation with that of Tasmania, Western Australia and the broader international approach towards sustainable winegrowing schemes.
A multi-stage mixed methods approach was adopted in this study. The first stage consisted of a content analysis conducted of international sustainable winegrowing programs. The results obtained from this analysis, together with an assessment of the relevant literature and previous national winegrower surveys, assisted in the formulation of the second stage of this study in the form of a 2015 survey of New Zealand winegrowers. This survey drew on issues of wine and biosecurity, climate change, social justice issues and eco-labelling as well as wine tourism. These were examined within the context of three key drivers of sustainability: the physical aspects of sustainable wine production; the internal drivers within wine businesses for the adoption of sustainable practices; and the external regulatory aspects which govern the adoption of sustainable wine production practices. This element of the research provided for a unique longitudinal perspective on sustainable winegrowing and wine tourism in New Zealand. The third component was a comparative analysis of wine tourism, innovation and sustainability in Australian cool climate regions so as identify the potential effects of different approaches to the governance of sustainable winegrowing. Therefore, in 2016 a survey was undertaken of Tasmanian and West Australian wineries that used the same questions as in the New Zealand research. This research provides for a unique longitudinal and international comparative approach to assessing wine tourism, innovation and sustainable winegrowing in New Zealand. The findings indicate that there were substantial concerns with the perceived value provided by both wine tourism and sustainable winegrowing practices. These concerns exist at both the firm level and with the governing bodies responsible for implementing sustainable winegrowing initiatives. The issue of mandatory versus voluntary membership of sustainable winegrowing programmes was shown to be a key reason why New Zealand winegrowers were becoming increasingly disenfranchised with the SWNZ scheme. It was also found that Australian and New Zealand wineries held differing perspectives on many important issues, including the areas of climate change, biosecurity, migrant workers’ rights and governance. Further to these issues were distinct differences in viewpoints surrounding marketing initiatives such as eco-labelling, and the benefits of sustainability in terms of providing a competitive point of difference.
Unless this perception of the value of sustainability within both the New Zealand and Australian wine industry is altered in the future, it appears that there will continue to be an ongoing issue as to how sustainable winegrowing initiatives are implemented.