Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of the tasting room for wineries from a re-developing Spanish wine region, and identify the challenges winery owners currently face in their pursuit to market their wines through the tasting room.
Design/methodology/approach - Between May and June of 2007 a total of 23 winery owners, managers and wine makers located in the Canary Islands were interviewed from a sample of 61 wineries identified in Tenerife and La Palma islands.
Findings - The findings confirm the vital importance of the tasting room as a marketing, branding, and educative vehicle for the wine product. Overall, wineries focus on the tasting room as a way to advertise and present their wines to visitors and passers by as part of a long-term strategy, rather than as a way to make direct wine sales.
Research limitations/ implications - It is acknowledged that the sample of only 23 participating businesses may not be enough to make generalisations about the impact of the tasting room on wineries of the Canary Islands. However, the sample does provide useful insights into the benefits, issues and challenges of the tasting room in this context.
Practical implications - The findings demonstrate the innovative and proactive spirit of winery management, including the push for quality and educating visitors, as key to survival and success in this very competitive industry. In this process, the role of the tasting room becomes critical to achieve those objectives.
Originality/value - The study provides new insights into the role of the tasting room in a Spanish wine region that has received very limited attention. The exploratory nature of this study also provides an avenue for future studies into an industry that is growing around a region's main income magnet: tourism.