The search for new grape varieties in California!


Introducing a variety of any plant in a new environment can prove to be an extremely difficult process. Many parameters must be taken into consideration, from the obvious need to local climate adaptability to resistance against insects, diseases and infections. It requires more than simply planting and following guidelines, as it is also imperative that the grower is not only aware but also trained to follow all cultivation practices to the letter especially until the adaptation is successful. A variety may produce grapes that are considered excellent for one market, but won’t have a similar commercial success to another. PROTO needed to make sure that a wide range of varieties are tested, not only for adaptability but also to make sure that the fruit produced meet each target market criteria.


The trip to California

In early August PROTO visited the United States of America and specifically the state of California, to witness firsthand the techniques and procedures followed by local growers and of course for some table grapes tasting!

After the mandatory rest from the 11 hours long flight, the team accompanied by partners from UK based Jupiter Marketing Ltd were hosted by Grapa Varieties Ltd, the company that developed the ARRA grapes line. The first stop was at a 2.000 hectares farm were the group had the opportunity to witness the procedures followed for cultivation, harvest and packaging of Arra 15, Arra 19, Arra 28 an Arra 32.


New findings.

What struck our people the most is the fact that none of these varieties require complex procedures during growing. There are no major difficulties or any extra or new work to be done by the farmers, meaning that the growers will adapt quite easily and quickly to the demands that are no different if not less than the Crimson variety. Another interesting piece of information is that the substance Ethrel does not have to be used to help the grapes attain the desired color. This means less hassle for the growers and of course lower costs and more importantly fewer possibility of residues on the final products. Out of the entire Arra line, 19 seemed to be extremely promising since it has strong storage capabilities, it is extremely durable during post-harvest handling and has high yield per hectare, which can reach 30.000kg / 1 ha.


PROTO’s next grape variety tested.

Another interesting stop was at a 5.000 hectares farm where varieties of interest to PROTO are grown including Jack’s Salute and Sugarcrisp by International Fruits Genetics. Jack’s Salute is a red variety with a large cluster size, oval-elongated shaped berries, and a mid to late September harvest. What is interesting about this variety is the ease of growing, its high production yields and the fact that responds well to GA treatments. Sugarcrisp is a very late green seedless variety with large elongated and excellent colored berries. Its’ crispy firm texture along with the low acids allow for a good taste.


New varieties and the greek land

The Greek climate is ideal for vineyards and Greece is well known worldwide for its grapes, either table of wine. The temperatures so far have been higher than average with a drop to normal levels occurring only during the previous to last week of August. Brix, color and size seem to be advancing at an excellent pace, with the harvest dates being on schedule. During the last calendar year, PROTO has been looking deeply into its options concerning the introduction of new to Greece table grapes varieties, with the test plantations already in place. Soon the first results will be in and PROTO is confident that will be able to supply its customers with a broader range of red and white fresh delicious grapes.

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