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Relevant Background Details about the Topic

The prominence of Italian wine in the global market has not diminished because of its long tradition. In addition, the Italian wine industry has witnessed a stimulating rebirth in the past three decades that distinguishes Italy from other European wine producing countries. The baby boomer population in America may still order the watery Valpolicella and Chianti Classico in most of their eateries (Bastianich & Lynch 2005). These wines have played an integral role in cementing Italy’s reputation in terms of quantity, rather than quality as in the case of wine produced in France. Italy had built its reputation for producing wines sold at low prices while compromising on quality. However, as Italy attained confidence during the flourishing post-war periods in aspects of gastronomy, fashion, and design, it embarked on renewing its attention on the wine sector (Ewing-Mulligan & McCarthy 2011). This can be attributed mainly to Tuscan vintners, who helped Italy to re-launch its wine sector with aggressive positioning on the global stage as the producer of the best quality wines which included Barolo, Bunello di Montalcino, Amarone and Passito di Pantelleria. Presently, Italy has gained a reputation as one of the most coveted wine producing regions in the world (Kramer 2006).

Despite the effects of the recent global economic downturn, Italian wines have defied the odds to flourish. It is evident from the booming exports to international markets and competitive pricing in domestic markets. It is apparent that Italian wine producers have been able to grasp the success of the wine sector because of their capability to aim towards large global high-growth wine markets. Statistics point out that the global market share of Italian wines is 23 percent, with exports oriented mainly in Germany, North America, and Asia. The International Organization of Vine and Wine reported that Spain takes the second position with 14 percent, and France with 14 percent in terms of the global market share (Kramer 2006). It is apparent that Italian wines have unmatched prominence at both domestic and global level. However, few studies have taken the initiative to investigate the factors contributing to its prominence and success, providing a vast opportunity for undertaking research in this area. In the light of these circumstances, there is the need to explore the factors that have helped Italy to attain its prominence in the global wine industry, which is the primary focus of this thesis. The primary objective of this thesis is to explore the reasons why Italian wines are known as one of the best in the world (Ewing-Mulligan & McCarthy 2011). This will serve as the guiding question for undertaking this research. Additionally, this thesis will explore the factors which contribute to increasing the consumption of Italian wines at both domestic and global wine markets. Exploring this research topic poses the need to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the numerous factors contributing to the prominence and success of Italian wines in the global market (Ewing-Mulligan & McCarthy 2011).

There are several specific factors impinging this research process that will be taken into consideration. They include the effects of price and quality on the perceptions concerning Italian wines and their respective consumption levels as well as the impacts of logistics and distribution on the prominence of Italian wines at the global markets. Uncovering the factors contributing to the success of Italian wines will also include the quality and affordability perceptions about Italian wines and their respective effects on the dominance of these wines in the global market. Another potential factor that could help the research achieve its objective includes an investigation whether the competitiveness of Italian domestic wine market makes a significant contribution towards the success of Italian wines at the global market (Mariani 2011).

 Hypothesis/Research Question.

This thesis aims at uncovering the core factors contributing to the success of the Italian wine sector. Preliminary findings point out various factors that have helped guarantee the quality of Italian wine, including all key stakeholders in the industry such as the government, farmers, various organizations that regulate the Italian wine industry, and its consumers. However, there is a gap between the preliminary assumptions and findings and the perception that Italian wines are the best in the world. Does the quality of Italian wines translate to its prominence and dominance in the domestic and global wine markets? This thesis will affirm the effectiveness of such efforts to ensure the competitiveness of Italian wines. There are numerous preliminary assumptions that form the theoretical framework of this thesis in exploring the reasons why Italian wines are considered one of the best in the world.

The Italian wine and vine legislations implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture helps in regulating the Italian wine sector and ultimately leads to its success;

Inspection and controls undertaken by Frauds General Department under the Ministry of Agriculture make significant contributions towards enhancing the quality of Italian wines, which ultimately results in its dominance in the global wine market;

The Denomination of Controlled Origin DOCG/DOC and typical Geographic Indication categories form the foundation of Italy’s policy to advance the production of quality wines and enhance the efficiency and value of the wine sector. DOCG/DOC has a primary focus of producing distinctive wines labeled authentically and facilitating the production of non-traditional market-oriented wines, usually referred to as varietal wines.

Inter professional bodies in Italy play an integral role in the promotion and valorizing of the various wine categories, especially the DOC category (Brostrom & Brostrom 2009).

The government through the Ministry of Agriculture plays an integral role in guaranteeing the production of high quality wines through the establishment of National Wine and Grape Regulations, inspection control, and law enforcement. These regulations establish production rules and provide control over new plantations (Brostrom & Brostrom 2009).

Overall, the thesis maintains that the preliminary assumptions play a vital role in creating the perception that Italian wines are one of the best in the world. This thesis initiates an effort in answering the following research question: why Italian wines are known as the best in the world?

 Addressing the Research Question

Addressing this research question poses the need to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the various factors influencing the success and dominance of Italian wines. This thesis will evaluate the role of key stakeholders, especially the government and the relevant regulatory bodies in guaranteeing that Italian wines are of the highest quality standards. This notion ultimately translates to the perception that Italian wines are the best in the world.

The research will also attempt to establish the relationship between price and quality, and the perception that Italian wines are the best in the world. In addition, this study will explore the relationship between large-scale production of Italian wines and the perceptions regarding their quality. The thesis will also explore whether the shift from the market-oriented strategy towards the value-oriented strategy helps in increasing the dominance and competitiveness of Italian wines in the global market. Finally, the thesis will assess the role that competitiveness and supply policies play in ensuring the prominence of Italian wine sector. In addition, the thesis will assume that affordability and high quality of Italian wines directly contribute to the competiveness of the wine industry. The final predisposition to be affirmed by the thesis will be that large-scale productions have a negative influence on the quality of Italian wines, and subsequently affecting its reputation negatively. A comprehensive analysis of the identified variables will be helpful in finding the answer to the research question and meeting the objectives of this study.

According to the preliminary assumptions highlighted earlier, the findings will be consistent with the assumptions if the study proves that a high level of government’s and inter professional bodies’ involvement leads to the production of high quality wines. Some of the potential identified roles of inter professional bodies in improving the reputation of Italian wine industry include favoring and proposing new laws and regulations for production, transportation, taxation, and selling of grape spirits and products. Findings consistent with preliminary assumptions will reveal that the government guarantees high quality production of wines through offering technical and organoleptic analysis and issuance of certificates for quality exports. Other probable initiatives undertaken by the regulatory bodies in the Italian wine sector include offering consultancy services to help wineries acquire quality certification and enhance technical and management skills. High involvement of these organizations and the government will affirm that their activities contribute to the production of high quality wines, which ultimately helps in creating the perception that Italian wines are the best. Finally, it will be possible for this study to evaluate a clear objective result and find the answer to the research question using empirical evidence. Further, the results of the study will address all aspects of the topic under research.

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