The internationalization of wine SMEs in the midst of the economic crisis: pilot case studies from Greece, Albania & FYROM

Purpose of the paper: This paper explores the internationalization efforts of wine SMEs in three neighboring countries, namely Greece, Albania and FYROM. The aim is to identify particular issues faced by small wine producers in order to determine the variations among the countries.

Methodology: Multiple case study analysis was used. In depth interviews with two wine entrepreneurs from each country were conducted to examine the barriers they are facing with their export activities.

Findings: Interestingly enough, all three countries face similar barriers. The results indicate that negative Country of Origin Effect, Brand Equity and the Availability of Resources (due to their small size) are common and considered major export obstacles for the wine SMEs. However, although Greek wine SMEs have considerably more export experience and higher export performance, their negative Country of Origin Effect and Brand Equity remain major export obstacles.

Research Limitations: The main limitation of this study is the samples characteristics, which do not allow for any generalization of the results and is not necessarily country representative.

Research Implications: This research identifies specific common and prevalent export barriers that the investigated wine SMEs in the region face. Further research is required to explore each of the issues in depth. Furthermore, it is suggested that future research should focus separately on internal or external barriers in order to gain more comprehensive insights.

Originality of the paper: This paper, to the best of our knowledge, is the first to examine and draw conclusions on the internationalization of wine SMEs in three countries of the Balkan Peninsula in the midst of the current economic crisis.

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