This week, we are very happy to share with you, in this our first newsletter of 2020, updates from the latest ARRA field days which took place in the southern hemisphere; including ARRA Passion Fire™ (ARRA 29) field days in Chile and an ARRA field day in Hex River, South Africa. In addition, we bring you highlights of Shachar’s visit to India earlier this month. 

ARRA Passion Fire™ (ARRA 29) Field Days in Chile

From December 2019 until February 2020, the Grapasa and NuevaVid teams have organized a series of ARRA field days to take place in the following regions of Chile; III, IV, RM, V, and VI. It is our pleasure to share with you the teams report on the following ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) field days that have already taken place.

Fruticola y Exportadora ATACAMA (III region in Chile) Las Terrazas Farm

Two farms were visited. The first farm visited was ‘Las Terrazas, planted with  ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29), grafted on own-rooted Flame. This is the farm’s third harvest season. The ARRA Passion Fire was almost ready to be harvested, they were waiting for an increase in the Brix to start with 18 to harvest it. It was possible to observe fruit that was produced under two different production protocols; one proposed by Grapasa and the other characteristic of that field. In both cases, clusters were observed with large diameter berries, but a little dark colour.

ARRA 29 ARRA Passion Fire
ARRA 29 ARRA Passion Fire Vines
ARRA 29 Wines in the field

Santa Laura Farm

The second farm visited was  ‘Santa Laura’,  which grafted ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) onto Flame plants but with Harmony rootstock. According to what was observed and discussed by Atacama’s Abraham Arcos and Luis Arancibia, Grapasa agronomist,  it was found that the fruit was of good quality, colour and finish. 

ARRA 29 in the vineyard
Andrea Castro, Nueva Vid agronomist (centre, in yellow shirt) with Luis (next to Andrea, on left) and the ARRA growers

Attendees were able to discuss all the production operations that were carried out to obtain the very good quality fruit. Finally, another plot of ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) was visited, this time with Saltcreek rootstock. In its first year of production, the fruit was of great caliber; 24mm diameter, very firm and with an exceptional cherry colour.

Agricola Campos Sudamericanos (V region in Chile)

The growers were able to observe ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) fruit one week before being harvested. The farm is made up of own rooted plants of ARRA Passion Fire from 2017 and it is its first commercial production. 

The fruit had a very nice cherry colour and berries of 22-24mm in diameter. Pablo Johow, owner of Ag. Campos Sudamericanos and Nicolas Vargas, agronomical manager, shared with the growers their experiences in production management based on the Grapasa protocol.

(Far left) Pablo and the growers in the ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) vineyards
(Far left) Pablo and the growers in the ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) vineyards

Luis Arancibia talked and discussed with the producers the guidelines of the production management that Grapasa proposes. The fruit began to be harvested on 3rd January and the production estimate is approximately 1,800 boxes (of 8.2kg) per hectare.

Andrea and Maria Jose Castro, commercial manager from Nueva Vid
Andrea and Maria Jose Castro, commercial manager from NuevaVid
ARRA 29:Luis Arancibia (far left) explains the Grapasa guidelines
Luis Arancibia (far left) explains the Grapasa guidelines

Agricola La Hornilla (RM region in Chile)

The growers saw two different plots; One with plastic cover and another without plastic cover. The harvest of the fruit from the plot under plastic began that same day, the fruit was over 18 Brix. The other, not under plastic, was not ripe enough to be harvested at the time of this field day but will be ready for harvest this week. 

ARRA 29 bunches
ARRA 29: From left: Agricola La Hornilla owner, Cristian Allendes, Luis and Benjamin Allendes, La Hornilla agronomical manager
From left: Agricola La Hornilla owner, Cristian Allendes, Luis and Benjamin Allendes, La Hornilla agronomical manager

In both cases, the attendees could see the optimum quality of the fruit. Very nice cherry colour grapes with big berries and firm consistency. The new protocol of using urea and gibb succeeded beyond expectation and the results are beautiful ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) without shot berries.

ARRA 29: Bottom right; Karl Conrads, Grapasa owner, in the stunning ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) vineyards
Bottom right; Karl Conrads, Grapasa owner, in the stunning ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) vineyards

Muchas Gracias!

We would like to thank all the farms and companies who generously gave their time and efforts for these field days, to the growers for their enthusiasm and support of the ARRA programme and last but by no means least, huge thanks and appreciation to the Grapasa and NuevaVid teams who have been working tirelessly to run this series of very important ARRA field days which contribute immensely to the success of the ARRA programme in Chile.

TopFruit Field Day - Uitkoms, Hex River

On 4th January 2020, TopFruit hosted their annual field day on the farm, Uitkoms, in the Hex river region of South Africa. Approximately fifty producers and grape marketers mainly from the Western Cape attended the field day to see the ARRA varieties on display. In the Hex river region, the table grape season is about ten days earlier this year, with most of the producers in full swing with their harvests and packing programmes.

The ARRA varieties on display for the field day were ARRA Mystic Bloom™ (ARRA 14), ARRA Sweeties™ (ARRA 15), ARRA Passion Fire™ (ARRA 29) and ARRA Sugar Drop™ (ARRA 30). The aim of the field day was to showcase the ARRA varieties in commercial fields. The producers and marketers had the chance to network with the TopFruit team on all technical aspects, as well as to receive information from the particular producer on his growing protocols. At each of the various ARRA blocks, there was a technical discussion about the variety showcased. All the varieties looked good in the various stages of ripeness; the overall opinion of the day was very positive.

ARRA Sugar Drop™ (ARRA 30)

The first block visited was ARRA Sugar Drop (ARRA 30). The ARRA Sugar Drop (ARRA 30) and ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) had already been harvested, therefore the Brix on the remaining bunches were high but still looking very good in the vineyard.

ARRA Sugar Drop (ARRA 30) vineyard

ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) was looking exceptionally good with large berry size, good colouration of the bunches and crunchy texture.

Stunning ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29)

ARRA Mystic Bloom (ARRA 14) displayed good colouring of the bunches and a good yield.
This variety is grown mainly in Namibia and South Africa, where growers adopted a very economically efficient culture practice resulting in excellent performance, extended shelf life and shipping durability. ARRA Mystic Bloom (ARRA 14) has very good eating quality, consistent fertility and arrives successfully to the market long after transit time.

ARRA Mystic Bloom (ARRA 14)

At the time of the field day, the ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) was about two weeks away from harvest. The bunches were managed according to the protocols with small bunches and the producers following the technical advice given by the TopFruit team. The yield was looking very good.

ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15)

Thank you!

As always we are very grateful to the TopFruit team for their time and effort organizing this important field day and to the growers for their support of the ARRA programme.

A special word of thanks to Schalk-Willem Rabie (on left) from the farm Uitkoms for his great efforts in this field day as well as his exceptional attention to detail in the production of his ARRA varieties. 

ARRA™ Programme in India

On January 2nd, Shachar and Jupiter grape agronomist, Andre Vermaak arrived in Nashik, situated in the Maharastra region of India, to meet up with the team from Jupiter Group, the exclusive licensees of ARRA™ varieties in India, for a visit to Sahyadri Farms, Jupiter’s local partners. The visit provided an excellent opportunity for all the partners involved to meet up and see first-hand the progress of the ARRA programme in India.

Top row: Sahyadri team. Bottom row, from left: Paul Sneyd, Jupiter grower manager, Shachar, Andre, and Nick Jenkin, Jupiter procurement executive

Over a period of three days, Shachar and the Jupiter team toured the facilities of Sahyadri Farms, including field visits to their ARRA Sweeties™ (ARRA 15) plantation, test blocks, polyhouse and packhouses.

In order to reach the new year markets, the growing cycle in India needs to coincide with the challenging monsoon season. Sahyadri Farms have faced these tough climatic conditions and in spite of the heavy monsoon storms, the ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) grapes look good and clean. The initial ARRA Sweeties harvest will start next week and the production looks very promising.

Sahyadri Farms' quarantine facilities are operating with a very high level of professionalism and care. Further importation will follow the existing one.
From left: Andre and Sachiin Walunj, Sahyadri Farm general manager in the ARRA Sweeties™ (ARRA 15) vineyards. Sachiin, who is also an ARRA grower, gives 100% of his time to support all the Sahyadri farmers.
Completing the technical tour, Shachar gave a technical presentation to 150 ARRA growers from the Nashik region.

The visit was deemed to be a great success by all involved. As Jupiter’s grower manager, Paul Sneyd relates, “We enjoyed an extremely interesting and fruitful trip accompanying Shachar to our Indian growing partners Sahyadri Farms. Vilas Shinde and Azhar Tambuwala, Sahyadri Farms owner and representative respectively, and the entire Sahyadri team did an amazing job of hosting us; the organisation and hospitality shown by everyone were truly inspirational. Attending the ARRA growers meeting, listening to Shachar’s technical presentation and meeting 150 farmers from the local Nashik region were particular highlights to the trip. It’s exciting to see the ARRA varieties flourishing in their Indian habitat and we look forward to working together on the forthcoming season. I came away from the trip thoroughly enthused with the opportunity in India and truly believe that we can do something remarkable moving forward.”

Jupiter, Grapa and Sahyadri Farms; together we make a great team!
Jupiter, Grapa and Sahyadri Farms; together we make a great team!

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