New wineries may also be inexperienced in marketing, which can be tricky because cool climates restrict grape varieties that can be grown.

"Many of these regions are growing grape varieties that may be less familiar to consumers, such as the cold-hardy Frontenac," said Gómez. "It would be very difficult for a single winery to promote the legitimacy of a new wine region with new types of wine, but a regional branding effort which emphasizes the new varieties can turn that novelty into an advantage."

The economists will use surveys and interviews to analyze which business practices reduce transaction costs, increase grape and wine quality and promote winery success, including the terms of contracts between grape growers and wineries. They will also take the on the challenges of wine distribution, evaluating tasting-room sales and options for diversification into nonlocal markets, local festivals and restaurants.

"Wineries currently share quite a bit of information about the methods they use in grape growing and winemaking, much of which is facilitated by Cornell Cooperative Extension," noted Gómez. "We'd like to see the same level of information exchange about business practices as well, to help these wineries move from the startup phase of their lifecycle into the growth phase."