Evidence for the success of relationship marketing remains contradictory, with practitioners reporting that most relationship marketing efforts fail, and academic researchers suggesting that further exploration of the boundary conditions of relationship marketing are needed. A number of researchers have identified changes in the competitive environment as the basis for the adoption of relationship marketing, although recent research suggests a more complex, contingent view. Drawing upon longitudinal case studies from the New Zealand wine industry, this article names a number of contextual conditions that influence the development and evolution of relationship strategies. The findings identify changes in the form and intensity of relationships. The source of these changes is identified. Based on this analysis, four marketing 'gestalts' are identified. The evolution of each gestalt is then explained, with the approaches used by firms to navigate from one gestalt to another described.