The role of terroir in tourism led amenity migration: contrasting effects in Tuscany and the Okanagan valley of British Columbia

Definitions of terroir elude consistent agreement. As defined geographical space the common denominators of its conceptualization include natural and cultural elements of life, work, and lifestyle that have become idealized, even fetishized worldwide. It seems the ideal terroir for wine production is also an idealized lifestyle location. A very high quality of life is associated with the landscape of the wine terroir, hence, visiting a winery, running a winery and living in the vicinity of a winery has become valued among amenity seeking tourists often followed by amenity migrants.

This broad scale investigation uses the theoretical framework of evolutionary economic geography to examine the process and effects of tourism led amenity migration in Tuscany, Italy and the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Tuscany and the Okanagan are examples of old and new worlds of wine production where wine tourism and amenity migration have taken on common qualities with often differing results. Evolutionary histories of the wine and tourism industries in Tuscany and the Okanagan are laid out alongside the process of lifestyle or amenity migration that have emerged. Key motivators that facilitate tourism led, wine based migrations are theorized to illustrate temporal and spatial patterns of tourism and migration. The amenities of the wine terroir integrate natural, cultural and lifestyle characteristics associated with the rural countryside in general. The process of change from wine led tourism to migration appears imbedded in a class attachment to the romanticized social construction of wine production. However, the effects of wine based amenity migrations are deeply localized and appear driven by local innovations and innovators, the transition and specialization of local institutions and the presence or absence of windows of opportunity created by cultural and economic transformations.

Authors: Donna Senese (1), Filippo Randelli (2), John S. Hull (3)

(1) University of British Columbia, 252-Arts 1147 Research Road, Kelowna British Columbia Canada V1V 1V7
(2) Universita` degli Studi Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l’Economia e l’Impresa, 950127 Firenze, Italia
(3) Thompson Rivers University, Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism, 900 McGill Road, Kamloops, British Columbia Canada V2COC8


Keywords: terroir, amenity migration, wine tourism, Tuscany, Okanagan

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