Building on reciprocity theory, the current study suggests that, at least to some extent, consumers purchase goods and services in response to sampling due to a perceived need to reciprocate for trying the products/services. In addition, the study explores the effect of charging for sampling (i.e., wine tasting) on tourist behavior. The sample (N = 357) was drawn from visitors to six wineries in an emerging wine region. Three of the sampled wineries charged a small fee for tasting, while the other three wineries offered complimentary wine tasting. The study examined whether differences exist in a perceived need to buy wine between visitors who paid a tasting fee and those who tasted wine for free. The results indicated that visitors who had complimentary wine tasting spent significantly more money at the wineries than visitors who paid a fee for tasting. Furthermore, visitors who tasted wine for free felt significantly more appreciative of the personnel than did visitors who paid a tasting fee. Also, visitors who had complimentary wine tasting reported significantly higher levels of obligation to make a purchase at the end of their visits to the wineries. Managerial implications are discussed.
- Wine tourism