Consuming and Constructing Place: A Case Study on Winery Development in Lake Erie North Shore
A key and ever-present challenge for wineries is to develop identity through product branding and differentiation. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between place, product and experience in the wineries of a designated viticulture area that has received little attention to date – Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, Canada. A case study grounded in semi-structured interviews was conducted between May and December 2012. All 16 grape-producing wineries operating in the region at the time of the fieldwork were interviewed at the cellar door. Findings revealed that both governance factors (free trade agreements, provincial regulations, and economic conditions), and those relating to place – are heavily implicated in the development of this sector. Specifically, most wineries have gone beyond capitalizing on the climate and shoreline, to include more nuanced attributes of place, and are highly engaged in the natural, built and social capital around them.