Professor David Doloreux and MSc graduate Evelyne Lord-Tarte have published a study on the key factors that enable the wine industry in Canada to develop, in The Social Sciences Journal. “Context and differentiation: Development of the wine industry in three Canadian regions” responds to a dearth of studies examining critical aspects in the development of industrial clusters. It focuses on three different regions: Ontario, where the wine industry is well-developed by Canadian standards and is growing; British Columbia, home to a much smaller, though also relatively sophisticated and growing industry; and Quebec, with its emerging industry, limited to a small group of firms and local associations.
Dr. Doloreux and Ms. Lord-Tarte describe growth challenges such as rising land costs, the absence of a national coordinating agency to set national quality standards and frameworks, and the fact that provincial standards of production are limited to official viticulture areas. They point to the valuable role that support organizations play in the wine industry in general. In Canada these entities, by virtue of their regionally confined mandates and the absence of a critical industrial mass, have a limited impact outside the regions where they operate. The researchers say the lack of coordination with respect to markets, standards and strategies “leaves regions in the different provinces as ‘silos’ with their own actions strategies and public support initiatives.” Finally, they found that the “development of an industry at the regional level is a complex process and, in the case of the wine industry, it is the various combinations of physical and institutional factors that will determine the distinctive features of its creation and development.”