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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2020 Milestones and Firsts

WSU Tri-Cities Business Professor Aims to Travel to Austria for Fulbright

Story and photo by Maegan Murray

I look forward to being a resource for understanding Austrian wine culture and being able to share that with local businesses and the wine industry here in the Pacific Northwest.
-Byron Marlowe
Byron Marlowe, Don Smith Professor of Hospitality Business Management at WSU Tri-Cities, will travel to Austria—if pandemic travel restrictions lift—as part of a Fulbright Program Scholar grant to research tasting offerings and pricing practices in winery tasting rooms.

Beginning in March 2021, Marlowe, who also directs the wine and beverage business management program, will teach and conduct research at the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems in Krems an der Donau, Austria. The four-month experience will support his ongoing research project identifying best practices for winery tasting room experiences throughout the world.

Award-Winning Textbook to Supplement Industry Expertise

Marlowe has a background in wine and beverage business management and has published research examining price points of tasting offerings for comparison in different countries and regions. He and fellow authors recently earned “Best Book for Professionals” in the United States by the Gourmand International Cookbook Awards for their book Wine Sales and Distribution: The Secrets to Building a Consultative Selling Approach. His research interests include terroir, focusing on the attributes of a region and place that have become important for winery marketing and sales in the Pacific Northwest and across the globe.

As part of the Fulbright experience, Marlowe will teach master’s-level marketing courses in business and work directly with graduate students in one of three tracks: sales, import and export, or international business. He will supplement the courses with his knowledge of the wine and beverage industry, also using his recently published book as a text in those courses.

For his research, Marlowe will visit an assortment of wineries, examining what consumers experience online before visiting the Wachau wine valley region wineries as part of their tasting room journey. Some areas he will examine include how wine is served, additional experiences offered by the winery such as a vineyard tour, the types of wine served, and the general customer service provided by the winery to include price of tasting.

He will combine that research with studies he has conducted so far on wineries in Walla Walla, Washington, and the Franconia region of Germany.

Setting International Standards for Tasting Room and Wine Experiences

“The idea of the project is to try to set international standards for the tasting room experience and wine offerings,” he says. “There may have been research completed on certain regions, but not globally. I’m excited to expand the project to specifically include Austria, which is the ninth largest imported wine location in the United States.”

Marlowe says he is looking forward to developing his knowledge of the wine industry in Austria and the associated experiences.

“It will provide a great opportunity to truly immerse myself in Austria’s wine culture,” he says. “I look forward to being a resource for understanding Austrian wine culture and being able to share that with local businesses and the wine industry here in the Pacific Northwest. It truly is an exchange program meant to share information between countries and across the globe.”