This week we focus on Chile, where the growers are busy picking and packing. Then, as the season in South Africa is advancing, we bring you a wrap up of the overall successful harvest to date.

Karl Conrads, Grapasa CEO and ARRA Agent in South America says: “In Chile, regions III, IV and V started harvesting and the focus has been to produce quality fruit in order to fulfil the demands of the diverse export markets”.

Karl adds: “The Grapasa technical team, together with the ARRA™ growers, have been working very hard to achieve our goals. Ultimately, what we want and will offer are the best ARRA grapes possible to all our market destinations”.

Karl concludes: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to show the Grapa Newsletter readers the fruit of the hard work of the Chilean producers by bringing you some highlights of this 2023 Chilean ARRA season”.

Agricola Rio Grande 

Luciano Campo, Director of Agricola RĂ­o Grande is satisfied with this ARRA season and he reports: “Under the challenging macroclimatic conditions of Region IV, my experience in producing ARRA Passion Fire™ has been really successful. The fruit is of good quality, the vines are highly productive and overall easy to grow”.

Luciano adds: “This is my first season harvesting the ARRA Sweeties™ that were planted in 2020. I am happy with the bunches and berries size and I am even happier to see such vigorous vines with high crop quality”.

ARRA Passion Fire and ARRA Sweeties at Agricola Rio Grande
Luciano Campo, proud of this season's results

Agricola Nueva Totoras

Ricardo Azocar, Manager at Agricola Nueva Totoras says:
“Our ARRA Sweeties’ vines are bearing very good fruit and all I can say is that year after year we are very pleased with the achievements as well as with the quality of this variety”.

Ricardo highlights: “We are now in full harvest and our first ARRA Sweeties’ containers will depart to Korea”. 

Agricola Nueva Totoras' ARRA Sweeties that will be reaching the Korean supermarkets shelves .

Hugo Valenzuela, Production Manager at Agricola Nueva Totoras recounts:
ARRA Sweeties™ is without a doubt a very productive variety and once again we obtained a very flavourful fruit”.

Agricola Nueva Totoras team. From left: Hugo Valenzuela, Marcos Burr, Ricardo Azocar

Agricola Aguirre y Aguirre

In Agricola Aguirre y Aguirre’s Chañaral Bajo Norte farm, the Director, Patricio Aguirre, is pleased with this season’s harvest and says:” We are happy with having chosen the ARRA varietal line. We are very satisfied as the production seems to be even better and better with each passing year”.

Patricio continues: “Our ARRA Passion Glow™ showcases a nice colour, desired crispness and good bunch size. The ARRA Sweeties’ vines planted in 2018 have a good yield and the fruit looks promising”.

Patricio Aguirre inspecting ARRA Passion Glow

RIOblanco®

The ARRA Sweeties harvest of RIOblanco® is looking splendid and ready for the markets. We are impressed by the abundant, clean crop and these pictures speak for themselves.  
Oscar Silva Ayach, RIOblanco Area North Manager, reports: “Our great team is at the base of our success. At RIOblanco we are rigorous when it comes to the whole production process. We really focus on vine optimal load as well as number of berries per bunch. This has always been the key to obtaining an excellent quality crop that year after year is recognized and appreciated by the market”.

Freshly harvested ARRA Sweeties

In RIOblanco’s San Antonio farm the harvest started on the 9th of January and forecasts are pleasing with an estimated 3,900 / 4,000 boxes of 8.2 Kg per hectare. The  ARRA Sweeties crop shows a very good berry size of 23 – 24 mm, with a Brix between 18 – 19. Additionally, the berries allow for a great eating experience as they are both firm and juicy.

RIOblanco's Area North Manager, Oscar Silva Ayach and San Antonio Farm Manager, Alejandro Cortes Bugueño happy with ARRA Sweeties

The ARRA™ harvest is progressing and although this season has had its challenges, the quality looks very good, and producers are doing their very best to ensure quality produce is being packed.

Overall, exporters’ feedback on arrivals are good and the quality received is of a high standard. There have been some isolated cases of unsatisfactory arrivals due to the challenges experience following the rains.RRA Mystic Dream™.

ARRA Sweeties and ARRA Mystic Bloom from the Northern Cape

A J Jansen van Vuuren, Table Grape Manager at Topfruit  (the exclusive territorial agent for the ARRA™ varieties and Early Sweet™ in Southern Africa.) shares: “We anticipate proving yet again the value of the ARRA varieties in face of climatic and economic challenges as those faced this year by South African growers. We also eagerly await the introduction of the newest range of ARRA varieties to RSA, further providing varieties that meet the evolving needs of our growers and marketers.”

In the past week Andre Agenbag, TopFruit viticulturist in Namibia and the Northern Cape, visited a few growers cultivating ARRA Yum!bo™ specifically for raisin production.

Left: ARRA Yum!bo on the drying structures for sundried raisins and right: ready to undergo the bleaching process to produce Golden Jumbo raisins

Andre reports very good yield, brix, and berry size. There is still more finetuning necessary on the growing protocol, when producing is geared for raisin, in order to overcome some minor challenges that were faced. The potential looks very good for this variety in the raisin industry.
The goal is to offer the growers an alternative to Thompson Seedless for producing Golden Jumbo class raisins with the highest grading standards.

ARRA Honey Pop Field Day in the Hex River Valleys

Recently Topfruit held a Field Day in the Hex River Valley.
The team recounts: “We had a good turnout, and the growers had the chance to see for the first time a variety suitable to this region in the ultra-early white seedless window of production”.

The Field Day was held at Chris Rabie Buffelskraal farm. This was the first ARRA Honey Pop crop and the variety proved its advantages with regards to ease of production and fertility.

AJ enthusiastically explains: “This produce, equivalent to 3200 cartons per hectare, boasts a very good average berry size of 20/21mm and an average Brix of 17, and is currently on its way to Europe. This will mark the first commercial export of the ARRA Honey Pop™ from the Western Cape, and we await feedback on the success of this variety”.

Delicious ARRA Honey Pop

We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to the Grapasa and TopFruit teams for their continued support of the ARRA program in Chile, South Africa and Namibia. Moreover, we thank the growers for the beautiful pictures and updates. Your success is our pride.

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