As harvest-time in Chile draws to a close, this week we present an overview of the season. In addition, we report on an ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) field day which was held last month in the Metropolitan region of Chile.

Grapasa CEO, Karl Conrads summarized the ARRA season, which is nearly at its end in Chile, “The season is unlike previous seasons, it started early and is going very fast. Due to continued drought, the growers from the 3rd to 7th regions in southern Chile are facing their driest season and as a result, some hectares have been left without production. However, the resilient and adaptable Chilean growers frequently suffer from extreme weather conditions and use different types of strategies to come through challenging conditions. On the whole, all of the ARRA varieties have performed very well; in its first year of real commercial production the ARRA Passion Fire™ (ARRA 29) is showing great promise, ARRA Passion Glow™ (ARRA 19) is increasing in production with new hectares and ARRA Sweeties™ (ARRA 15) produced more than 2.5 million boxes for export. The varieties showed good quality upon arrival to destinations and have been well accepted by the different markets.

We are delighted to have this opportunity to present below some of the highlights of the Chilean ARRA season (If you would like to share with us the highlights of your ARRA season, please send us pictures and information for publication in the next edition of Grapa newsletter):

Aguirre & Aguirre Ltd.

The farm of Aguirre & Aguirre, located in El Palqui, Ovalle in IV region, has in first-year production ARRA Passion Glow (ARRA 19) and ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15). Judging by the pictures below of this first crop of ARRA Passion Glow (ARRA 19), the future looks very promising for this variety. 

ARRA Passion Glow
ARRA Passion Glow
ARRA Passion Glow

San Antonio Farm, Rio Blanco

On 8th January, a field day was held on Rio Blanco’s San Antonio Farm, located in region IV,  for ARRA growers to see the ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) and ARRA Passion Glow (ARRA 19) vineyards. Pictured below is San Antonio’s beautiful ARRA Passion Glow (ARRA 19).

ARRA Passion Glow

Pictured below, ARRA Passion Glow (ARRA 19) in its second year of production at Rio Blanco. 

ARRA Passion Glow
ARRA Passion Fire

Agricola Las Uvas

Located in the Metropolian region, Santiago, the farm of Agricola Las Uvas has produced an impressive first-year crop of  ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29). Farm owner, Juan Valdes is very proud and happy with this first-year harvest which clearly shows uniform berry size, clean from shot berries and with great pink-red colour.

ARRA Passion Fire
ARRA Passion Fire

Agricola La Hornilla

Agricola La Hornilla’s Fundo Hospital farm produced a pleasing crop of ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29). As can be seen below, the berries show firmness and a strong appearance, which are ideal characteristics for long shipping. The bunch and berry shape are true to the type of ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29).

ARRA Passion Fire
ARRA Passion Fire

Agricola Angostura

Located in Region IV. Farm owner, Alfonso Artigues’ ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) in its first-year of production is looking very promising. With berries reaching a good size, sweet and very crunchy.

ARRA Passion Fire
ARRA Passion Fire

Agricola Campos Sudamericanos

In its first year of commercial production, the own-rooted ARRA Passion Fire (ARRA 29) crop reached up to 25 mm in berry size. Owner, Pablo Johow is very pleased with this first-year harvest. The farm is located in the Valparaiso Region.

Agricola El Maitenal

In its third year of commercial production, the ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) on Fernando Iacobelli’s farm has produced a beautiful crop. Their policy of only harvesting the ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) when it reaches its best eating quality means waiting until the average Brix is 19-20 before staring to pick the bunches. The ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) crop is produced under Cristal net, which is a big technical contribution for cultivating grapes with better quality standards and using less water, especially this season where Chile is suffering one of the driest seasons in eighty years.

Agricola El Maitenal has very good success exporting their ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) to the Asian, European and the US markets. The variety’s high quality and excellent flavour are well-received by international customers.
ARRA Sweeties Field Day
In early February, a field day was held in Agricola El Maitenal vineyards for the ARRA growers

Agricola Bauza

Located in Region IV, the ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) harvest of Agricola Bauza is looking clean and fresh and ready for the markets.

San Antonio Farm

Held on 8th January, participants to the ARRA field day on Rio Blanco’s San Antonio farm were impressed by the abundant, clean crop of ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15).

On February 12th, Grapasa and Viveros NuevaVid organized an ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) Open Field Day in the Metropolitan Region on Agricola Convento Viejo’s farm of owner, Enrique Turri Clark. The purpose of the field day was to show the ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) grapes that were being harvested that day. Thirty-five producers from the north to the south of Chile attended and Grapasa CEO, Karl Conrads, Enrique and NuevaVid owner, Jorge Valenzuela welcomed the attendees.

From left: Enrique, Maria Jose Castro (NuevaVid commercial manager), Victor Baeza (Agricola Convento Viejo farm manager), and Francisca Castillo (Agricola Convento Viejo).
From left (bottom); Jorge Valenzuela (owner of NuevaVid), Maria, Andrea Castro (NuevaVid agronomist), Enrique and Francisca

In the vineyards, attendees saw ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) on Paulsen 2013 plot, grown on open gable trellising, that was beginning to be harvested that day. Enrique commented on his experience in managing the variety under this trellising system, its benefits and challenges. For his part, Karl explained the technical management protocol and the phytosanitary programme proposed by Grapasa. The producers were able to ask questions and discuss technical aspects related to fruit quality with Enrique and Karl. This ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) crop produced fantastic fruit; very firm and sweet, with a good acid balance. 

ARRA Sweeties on the open gable trellising system

The attendees also visited ARRA Sweeties (ARRA 15) on Harmony 2017 plot, growing on Spanish Parron trellising. At the time of the visit the fruit still did not have enough soluble solids to be harvested, but it was estimated that the harvest would begin in a few more days. Here, attendees were able to compare the two trellising systems and see another way under which ARRA Sweeties are produced. Karl advised on technical management, the phytosanitary programme and post-harvest of the variety.

ARRA Sweeties on the Spanish Parron trellising
A great day was had by all

Muchos gracias amigos

We would like to send hearty thanks to the Agricola Convento Viejo and Agricola Rio Blanco teams for kindly hosting the latest field days and for their cooperation and warm hospitality, and of course to the great NuevaVid team for organizing the field day at Agricola Convento Viejo and for their continued support of the ARRA programme in Chile.

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