Brief Background on the Academy of Wine Business Research (AWBR)

Academic research on wine is typically conducted by a small number of people in any one institution, and the institutions are scattered around the wine-producing regions of the world. There are also wine-interested academics, who do not live in a major wine region, but nonetheless conduct research on some aspect of the wine business.  There are limited opportunities to share or publish research in existing academic outlets: conferences and journals. There have been a couple of special sessions at business/marketing conferences on the wine sector, but until recently nothing substantive or ongoing. The two journals in the area, The International Journal of Wine Marketing and The Journal of Wine Research have the problem of being very expensive, so they are not widely held. Neither has much of an academic reputation and is typically an outlet of last resort for articles that cannot be published in standard business journals. The IJWM has had more severe image problems, with escalating prices and poor editorial/reviewing practices over the last several years. Some of the members of the editorial board listed in the journal have not been involved with the journal for years; article reviews take months and when received, it is not clear they were reviewed by at least two academics; and there is supposedly a two-year lag for publication.

The Wine Marketing Group of the University of South Australia has probably the largest concentration of wine-related academics in the world, with five full-time marketing staff engaged in wine sector research and consulting. In 2003 a group of academics and scholars devoted to wine economic and management issues are forming an international association that included academics Tony Spawton, Larry Lockshin, Klaus Kilov, Eli Cohen, and François d’Hauteville. In that year, the Wine Marketing Group hosted the first International Wine Marketing Colloquium. The conference was attended by 28 academics from 7 countries with 22 papers presented. In 2005, Sonoma State University in California held the Second Wine Marketing Conference, where 55 papers were presented by over 60 academics from 13 different countries. The best 8 papers will now be published as a special issue of Agribusiness, An International Journal in July 2006.

The idea of an academic organisation to represent the interests of this group was discussed at a special meeting the night before the conference. On the final day, Professor Larry Lockshin made a presentation of the idea of an association with the following characteristics:

  • A network of like-minded researchers and practitioners in wine business world-wide
  • A conference – annually at first
  • Forum for academic discussion of the latest research
  • Publication in journals and trade journals
  • Encouragement of research students
  • Interaction with the wine trade

AWBR is planned to be a relatively informal association in the sense of having only an advisory board, but no constitution or by-laws as of yet. Its activities will be posted on the Wine Marketing Group website and there are plans after the next conference (7-9 July 2006 in Montpellier, France) to have a password protected area, where working papers can be exchanged among members of the association. There will be a small membership fee collected as part of the conference fee at the next conference to fund these activities. The informal board consists of:

  • Professor Larry Lockshin, University of South Australia, Australia
  • Professor Ulrich, Orth, Oregon State University, USA
  • Professor François d’Hauteville, Agro-Montpellier, France
  • Professor Luis Miguel Albisu, Zaragoza, Spain
  • Professor Rod Brodie, University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Associate Professor Liz Thatch, Sonoma State University, USA