Wine tourism as a development initiative in rural Canary Island communities
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Computing, Health and Science
Natural Sciences, Centre for Ecosystem Management
Purpose - Many studies underline the critical relationship between local communities and rural‐based industries. However, the dynamics of the relationship between wineries and local communities is rarely considered in research despite the importance of these links for rural communities. This paper investigates this dimension from the perspective of Canary Islands' small wine growers. Design/methodology/approach - A total of 23 winery operations located on the islands of Tenerife and La Palma accept the invitation to participate in the form of face‐to‐face interviews. Findings - The level of participation and contribution to the community varies between operations, with some small family operations in particular limiting their external involvement, while others see it as a necessary and/or beneficial relationship. Most wineries in the study are active in their communities, participating in local events and employing local residents. However, generational changes that threaten both the wine business and tradition, or mass tourism leading to land value increases are critical challenges to the winery‐community relationship. Research limitations/implications - With over 200 largely small‐family wineries in the Canary Islands, it is acknowledged that the sample of wineries in this paper may not be representative of the region's wine industry. Practical implications - The strengthening relationships between wineries and local communities for cultural events can build nostalgia for local wine production. This, in turn, appears to be vital for preserving the local wine culture and tradition by making winery ownership and work well‐regarded by the local community. Originality/value - To date limited research has been conducted on the redeveloping Canary Islands' wine industry, particularly from winery operators' points of view.