History and Theorizing: The Case of Winemaking in the Ontario Wine Industry
Despite the fact that theorization has been established as an important social mechanism in a variety of contexts, little research has explicated how this process works. I argue that theorization entails strategic constructions of history, or rhetorical history, in order to persuade audiences of legitimacy. I examine the role that history plays in actors’ theorizations of the Ontario wine industry as world class. By conducting a rhetorical analysis of the newsletters and websites of Ontario wineries, I find that various themes of history are routinely employed to re-theorize the industry as one that produces world class wines. In general, the findings suggest that the narratives of Ontario wineries tap into global repertoires of fine wine to portray the continuity of current practices with those of Old World winemaking. In addition, wineries sometimes tap into local histories to convey a sense of uniqueness, but they also obscure the history of poor winemaking in the region.