This week, we visit the Hex River Valley in South Africa, focusing on TopFruit’s recent ARRA open field day, we bring you a taste of Estate Fruit’s ARRA harvest and review AVI’s recent visit to the region’s ARRA 15 plantations.
ARRA™ True Colours in the Hex Valley
The surrounding mountains of the stunning Hex Valley perfectly support the growth of the table grapes. Schalk-Willem Rabie of TC Rabie farm hosted an outstanding Open Field Day managed by the TopFruit team when approximately 60 growers participated in the vineyards tour of ARRA 14, ARRA 15 and ARRA 29.
ARRA 14 (ARRA Mystic Bloom™)
Planted in 2017, this is the first crop of ARRA 14 to be harvested at TC Rabie farm. Packing will begin in week three and as can be seen from the photographs below, the berries of this variety have a good size and deep black colour and for these reasons, the South African growers are increasing their plantations to add this well-adapted variety to their collection.
ARRA 15 (ARRA Sweeties™)
Ready for packing in week four, this crop of ARRA 15 has a great berry size and impressive crop hanging. “The bunch size is the key for greater quality,” said Arnold. Some of the ARRA 15 growers in the Hex River Valley have in mind to reduce the bunch size in the coming season, resulting in a higher bunch count for a greater crop.
ARRA 29 ( ARRA Passion Fire™)
This beautiful variety, with its unforgettable colour and great eating quality, was the highlight of the field day. The vines were planted in 2017 and this is the first crop to be harvested from the block. Schalk-Willem started packing the ARRA 29 in week two.
AVI visit to the Hex River Valley
Carlo Lingua, Managing Partner at AVI, the exclusive ARRA agent in Europe and Onofrio Lilla, the director of the Italian company, Lilla & Giuliano, have recently returned from a visit to the ARRA 15 plantations in the Hex River Valley.
Carlo was extremely impressed by what he saw, remarking, “I have never seen in my entire life a so beautiful ARRA 15. Beautiful, perfect and extraordinary as ever. I can easily consider this ARRA 15 as premium. If we succeed in having this fabulous ARRA 15 in other parts of the world, this variety will become the most desired. In their opinion, it is possible to get an even better grape but It seems to me almost impossible”.
Estate Fruit’s ARRA in the Valley
Chris van Wyk, CEO of Estate Fruits in the Hex River Valley and Schalk Rabie, Commerical Manager of Southern Cross Marketing & Management, are excited about the ARRA harvest this season and look forward to ARRA 29 coming into production next year. Excellent quality punnets of the ARRA 14 and ARRA 15 (pictured below) have been packed on the Estate Fruit farms.
We would like to extend our warmest gratitude to Schalk-Willem Rabie for his kind hospitality in hosting the ARRA field day. Hearty thanks to Arnold, Stephan and all the TopFruit team for their expertise and support and much appreciation to all the participants who made time to attend this very valuable event.
Warm thanks to Southern Cross Marketing and Management and Estate Fruits for their support of the ARRA programme in South Africa and great appreciation to Carlo Lingua for his international support.
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