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Cottesbrook's New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine to Tesco

Tipples, Rupert
British food journal 2008 v.110 no.4-5 pp. 444-459
white wines, human food chain, supermarkets, international trade, case studies, business enterprises, wine industry, surveys, interviews, small businesses, interpersonal relationships, New Zealand
Purpose -- The purpose of this case study is to explore how a relatively economically insignificant business can gain and maintain access to a major supermarket chain on the other side of the globe in a world oversupplied with fine wines. Design/methodology/approach -- Based on the approach to case studies recommended by Lyons (2005), this case study is built on semi-structured interviews with key informants, previous experience, observations, documentary and web resources, combined in a process of triangulation to ensure reliability and content validity. Findings -- The nature of the problems facing a small wine producer are described, followed by an account of how access to Tesco was achieved and maintained. Personnel with previous Tesco contact were found to be vital to gaining access. Providing exactly what the supermarket wanted, when it wanted it and with reliability to continue supply over time were found to be critical as was the role of the channel coordinator. Supplier/supermarket loyalty was able to survive opposition. Maintaining good relationships in the supply chain was supported at all levels by active participation of the supplier's principals, in all stages of the chain, both personally and in developing solutions to the supermarket's problems. Originality/value -- The case study describes the first successful export of wine from New Zealand to Britain for sale in Bag-in-Box containers and how this is far more efficient in “food miles”.