IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inter-firm Networks in the European Wine Industry


  • Fabrizio Cafaggi
  • Paola Iamiceli


Following the current European policy framework, this research aims to study the role of inter-firm collaboration as a tool for enhancing competitiveness and innovation in the European market. In particular, it analyses the main models of inter-firm networks, both contractual and organisational, as emerging in the wine market in seven regions of five European countries: Loire (France), Trentino province (north-east Italy), Verona province (north-east Italy), Enna and Ragusa provinces (east Sicily, Italy), Douro and Porto regions (Portugal), Valencia (Spain), and selected regions of Hungary. The seven case studies are presented both individually and comparatively. The observation of concrete phenomena of inter-firm collaboration allows to compare more mature markets (like the French and the Italian ones) with markets that are undergoing a major restructuring process (like in Hungary): the former being characterised by higher propensity to inter-firm collaboration and higher degree of contractual and organisational innovation than the latter in terms of identification of effective tools of networks. The different mix between territory-driven production strategies and brand-driven production strategies also influences the type of networks and their role along the supply chain in each of the examined areas. Some common trends are considered: the higher propensity to form networks in the production phase than in distribution; the tendency to use linked bilateral contracts to coordinate the supply and distribution chain vertically, where power and value are asymmetrically distributed, while organisational networks are mostly used for horizontal cooperation among producers having similar market shares and producing complementary products or seeking for similar services supply. The increasing concentration of economic power among distributors is deeply influencing this picture, reinforcing hierarchy in vertical networks, especially in private label production, and stimulating some form of horizontal coordination as an attempt to counterbalance that concentration. Domestic and trans-national networks are compared and the impact of wine regulation is considered on their respective emergence. The role of European policies in promoting domestic and transnational networks is also examined. This shows the lack of coordination between rural and industrial policies, on the one side, and the definition of a menu of contractual and organisational models to be used to implement these policies, on the other side. The definition of a European legal framework on inter-firm networks could contribute to the fostering of innovation and competitiveness of European enterprises in the global market.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabrizio Cafaggi & Paola Iamiceli, 2010. "Inter-firm Networks in the European Wine Industry," EUI-LAW Working Papers 19, European University Institute (EUI), Department of Law.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euilaw:p0139

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Langlois, Richard N., 2002. "Modularity in technology and organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 19-37, September.
    2. Rachael E. Goodhue & Dale M. Heien & Hyunok Lee & Daniel A. Sumner, 2003. "Contracts and Quality in the California Winegrape Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 23(3_4), pages 267-282, December.
    3. Richard N. Langlois, 2003. "The vanishing hand: the changing dynamics of industrial capitalism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 351-385, April.
    4. Langlois Richard N, 2008. "Comment on 'Technological Revolutions and the Evolution of Industrial Structures' (by Giovanni Dosi, Alfonso Gambardella, Marco Grazzi, and Luigi Orsenigo)," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-8, October.
    5. Benito Arrunada, 2000. "The Quasi-Judicial Role of Large Retailers : An Efficiency Hypothesis of their Relation with Suppliers," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 92(1), pages 277-296.
    6. Claude Menard, 2006. "Hybrid organization of production and distribution," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 21(2), pages 25-41, December.
    7. Sabel, Charles F. & Zeitlin, Jonathan, 2004. "Neither Modularity nor Relational Contracting: Inter-Firm Collaboration in the New Economy," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(03), pages 388-403, September.
    8. Richardson, G B, 1972. "The Organisation of Industry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 883-896, September.
    9. Helper, Susan & MacDuffie, John Paul & Sabel, Charles, 2000. "Pragmatic Collaborations: Advancing Knowledge While Controlling Opportunism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(3), pages 443-487, September.
    10. Fabrizio Cafaggi, 2008. "Contractual Networks and the Small Business Act: Towards European Principles?," EUI-LAW Working Papers 15, European University Institute (EUI), Department of Law.
    11. Eleonora Di Maria & Stefano Micelli, 2007. "District leaders as open networks: emerging business strategies in Italian industrial districts," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0038, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Roberta Sardone & Valentina Cardinale & Crescenzo Dell’aquila & Paola Doria & Roberto Solazzo & Alfredo Manuel De Jesus Oliveira Coelho & Etienne Montaigne & Vasco Boatto & Andrea Dal Bianco & Luigi G, 2012. "The liberalisation of planting rights in the EU wine sector," Working Papers hal-01499067, HAL.

    More about this item


    economic policy;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:euilaw:p0139. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Machteld Nijsten). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.