Marsala and Port: a comparison between two great wines

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Introduction Marsala wine is the oldest of the Sicilian wines and it takes its name from the little town where it is produced. It is one of the most famous fortified wines in the world thanks to its organoleptic qualities and its incredible versatility. Despite its ancient origin and its fame, which led this wine to be known all over the world, Marsala wine is for several years in a decline phase. Porto wine, has always been a true symbol of Portugal, is also very famous worldwide for centuries, it is obtained from different varieties of grapes grown in the Douro Valley and then it is aged in wooden barrels at the cellars of the Oporto City where it was then shipped to be exported all over the world. As the Marsala wine, also the Porto wine is a fortified and versatile wine, with its several varieties, depending on grapes, maturity and production technique used. Marsala and Porto are then two great wines with very similar stories and destinies, but they have now encountered (especially the Marsala wine) difficulties in holding a good position in the market, this is because of the “younger” sweet wines, their new strong competitors, passito wine, malvasia wine, sauterne, etc.. Objectives This study compares these two wines which have very similar stories and qualities. The aim is to identify the strengths and the weaknesses of these two wines and then the actual treats and the future market opportunities. It is also analyzed why and how competitor wines encounter wider success on world markets despite the ancient and great history, the beauty of the lands and the richness of the environment the Marsala and Porto wines are related with. New market strategies are formulated to renew the product, overcome the decline and start again with a phase of introduction and growth. Materials and Methods There were identified the strengths and the weaknesses of the two wines by the identification of some key variables of success and failure – like environmental quality, human and relational capital, etc. – determined by a sampling survey and a Focus Groups carried out on “experts” in two different times. It was also tested the intrinsic quality of the two wines through a sensory analysis. With the ranks given by the interviewed to the variables it was made a SWOT Analysis in order to focus opportunities and treats for the two wines. Results It was possible to focus on the key variables of the success and of the decline of Marsala wine and consequently the reasons for the actual decline and opportunities for its promotion in the international and domestic market. With the identified reasons for the failure together with the business opportunities it was possible to formulate new market strategies (brand name, consumers, promotion, marketplace, etc.) and suggestions for the implementation of a new governance of the local system for the re-launching of Marsala wine in both the domestic and the international markets. References Aliberti C., Saracco C., (2002) Vermouth, Marsala e Liquori. Edagricole Borch O.J., Roaldsen I.H.E., (2009) Competitive positioning and value chain configuration in international markets for traditional food specialties (pagg. 151-166) – Wageningen Academic Publisher Casini L., Corsi A.M., (2009) Consumer preferences of wine in Italy Applying best: Worst Scaling. International Journal of Wine Business Research vol. 21, n°1 Chironi S., (2007) Strategie di sviluppo in aziende vitivinicole: “Analisi di caso studio”, Rivista Italus Hortus 14 06 Chironi S., Ingrassia M., (2010) La comunicazione: un valido strumento per la competitività delle aziende vitivinicole, Rivista di Economia Agro-Alimentare n° 2 Chironi S., Ingrassia M., (2010) Study of growth opportunities for Sicilian sparkling wine mar
Lingua originaleEnglish
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2013


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