St Helena Wine Estate (1978-2008): a longitudinal case study of a medium sized Canterbury (NZ) export winery.
The wine industry did not become significant in New Zealand before the 1970s. The internal New Zealand market was small and the focus of the economy was on trade in meat, dairy and wool products rather than wine. Wine production has a long history, but not in New Zealand. Wine production has also been a motor for economic growth. It became prominent after the accession of Britain to the EEC in 1973, when traditional agribusiness markets in the UK ceased to be available, and alternative agricultural products had to be found and marketed to preserve the New Zealand balance of payments. Different forms of agribusiness have been portrayed as achieving value extraction by taking performance gaps, or identifying and seizing opportunity gaps, "blue ocean" strategy being one example. That involves the development of a new product for a previously non-existent market. Thus there is no business competition because it is new. The development of [yellow tail] wines by Casella Wines of Australia exemplifies this and neatly parallels the development of St Helena Wine Estate, which has seized both opportunity and performance gaps, particularly in delivering successfully to Tesco, through its subsidiary Cottesbrook, the first New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Bag-in-Box wine supplied to the UK market. This paper is a case study of the production and marketing successes and travails of a medium sized New Zealand winery, which has only existed for thirty years. It highlights the influence of family; the role of export marketing; the nature of the wine supply chain from New Zealand to a UK supermarket; the role of channel coordinators in maintaining that; the increasing place of developing "new labels" in marketing strategy to find new "blue oceans"; and the ongoing turnover of business arrangements for most wine businesses over time.... [Show full abstract]