Investigating the relationship between wine tourism and proactive environmental management at wineries

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The importance of environmental attractiveness to wine tourism coupled with evidence of consumer demand for sustainably produced wines suggest that tourism may be influencing proactive environmental management practices at wineries. This exploratory study investigated the relationship between environmental sustainability and wine tourism using semi-structured in-depth interviews with decision makers at wineries in the State of California. This study discovered that while tourism was not a stated driver in the decision to engage in proactive environmental management, respondents indicated that communicating their environmental sustainability to visitors enhanced the visitor experience and helped to build brand equity. Respondents felt that tourism is useful in advancing proactive environmental management within the wine industry and is an effective method of increasing consumer awareness of environmental issues related to wine production. A coordinated effort between wineries, certifications bodies, and regional tourism organizations to provide visitors with information on sustainable wineries would address the information gap that hinders visitation based on environmental values.
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