AAWE, Economics Dept, New York University, 19 W 4th St, 6Fl., New York NY 10012aawe@wine-economics.org

AAWE Working Paper No. 147 – Business

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AAWE Working Paper No. 147 – Business

The British Columbia Wine Industry: can it compete with the big guys? 

Lee Cartier


In 1989, the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was implemented and dramatically changed the course of the wine industry’s development in British Columbia (BC). The FTA forced the industry to make the transition from being highly protected, and inefficient, to a competitive market contender. Although considered initially to be a victim of the FTA, by 2010, the BC wine industry contributed $295.8 million to the BC economy, or 0.15% of provincial GDP, and provided 5,100 direct and indirect jobs; and is now considered by many to be a remarkable BC success story. This investigation traces the evolution of the industry from 2000 to 2010 by examining the structural changes that occurred in the industry’s value chain during that period.

The study employs and industry cluster model to identify the relationships between the firms located in the Okanagan region. Results from the study show the growth in value added from all sectors of the value chain and identify several sources of the industry’s competitive advantage: extensive vertical integration, and a strong relationship to the tourism cluster. Conclusions are provided regarding the future challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

This article was written by Karl Storchmann