The Napa Valley Wine Industry: The Organization of Excellence
This book examines how Napa became a pre-eminent site for the production of great and sometimes iconic wines in a short space of time. Unlike its Old World counterparts whose development took place over centuries, Napa’s inception didn’t start until the beginning of the 19th century, and even then struggled to identify appropriate grape varietals and find a market for such wine, only to be frustrated when Prohibition occurred in the early 20th century and practically shut down the industry. It was in the 1960s that winegrowing would re-emerge on a scale and quality that began to be noticed by informed critics and neophyte consumers. In the following decades, critical information sharing networks of owners and winemakers emerged, facilitating a collective organization learning that fostered a commitment to quality and consistency that would cement Napa’s reputation. During these decades, technical skills were embraced, institutional support harnessed, and demand for premium wine in America grew. This book is a story about this evolving wine market, about how key individuals were able to shape its organization and build a brand that would increasingly be identified as amongst the best in the world. It starts with an early discussion of what constitutes quality and how wine has been evaluated over the centuries, and ends by exploring Napa’s apotheosis and the current critical issues facing the industry in that area.
Ian Malcolm Taplin is Professor of Sociology, Management and International Studies at Wake Forest University, USA, and has also taught at Kedge Business School, Bordeaux. He has published extensively on the wine industry in North Carolina, Napa and Bordeaux, and he is the author of the books The Modern American Wine Industry (2011) and The Evolution of Luxury (2020).
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