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Identifying Critical Success Factors in Alabama Wine Tourism: A Case Study of the Providers

Wine tourism is a fairly new phenomenon, tied closely to the increase in wine consumption in developing and developed countries in many different parts of the world. Wine tourism has the ability to help develop regional economies as well as add dramatic depth to rural economies. This is surprisingly the case in Alabama where more than ten wineries operate, mostly in small towns. The purpose of the study is to identify common themes, practices, and models among wineries in Alabama to determine how these wineries have been able to capture a portion of the wine tourism market in the state of Alabama. In addition, this research tries to find what key factors are contributing to the development of the wine tourism industry in the state and how Alabama’s wineries are achieving profitability and success. In order to gather this information, the researcher will perform in-depth, unstructured interviews of winery representatives that will include on-site visits. Interview questions will be abstracted from an extensive review of the literature including studies of wineries in areas that receive far more wine tourism and all of the questions will be open ended. Additional interviews will be scheduled as needed if something is discovered during the review. The researcher will also record, in a log book, all important aspects of winery design, location, access, scenery, and advertising for later comparison. Based on the results of the interviews, this research will give insight and recommendations to the wine tourism industry in Alabama.