Wrapping up the 2023 ARRA Field Days

A Fascinating Bunch

The Grapa team returned from the field days in Bakersfield California, full of meaningful experiences. Among the excitement and preparations, heavy concerns arose due to Tropical Storm Hilary, which loomed in the days preceding the event, tilting the balance towards the unknown. However last Sunday, as the forecast in the valley became clearer the violent storm would not hit but heavy amounts of rain were to be expected which indeed arrived.

Rainy day preparations

Monday marked the start of the weeklong event and the rain had already ceased. However, due to Sunday’s major rainfall, the area was left too muddy for tours. In response, the team made the decision to relocate indoors for one day, where the varieties could be enjoyed.

With the ground dried up and the sun shining, the next five days were back to the rows. Our many valued visitors from all over the world were each guided in small groups by the territorial representatives.

As we reported in July, this year’s season in California started much later than usual so some varieties that were intended to be shown during the July Field Days were not yet ready. This was the case with ARRA Fire Crunch™ (ARD 35). Consequently, the August visitors also got to see this variety’s ripe bunches, with their unbeatable crunch and characteristic vibrant red colour.

Thanks to the hanging abilities of our very early and early varieties, we could significantly extend the harvesting window for ARRA Honey Pop™, ARRA Fire Kiss™ (ARD 42), ARRA Mystic Charm™ (ARD 41), and ARRA Sugar Drop™ until the end of August. This extension allowed us to showcase recently harvested bunches alongside those picked in mid-July and kept in cold storage, maintaining their fresh appearance and crispness most effectively.

The ARRA Red Factor took center stage in a momentous celebration, highlighting the stunning three new red varieties: ARRA Fire Kiss, ARRA Fire Crunch, and ARRA Cherry Crush™ (ARD 36). These grapes showcased a mesmerizing spectrum of red shades, ranging from the bright red of ARRA Fire Crunch to the deep cherry tones of ARRA Cherry Crush.

However, the spotlight was also shared with the new line of flavoured varieties that are also crunchy and suitable for mass-production. This unparalleled and unique selection was unveiled to the visitors, generating exceptional feedback.

New Selection- Flavour line

Aftermath of the Storm

With each passing day, it became increasingly evident that the grapes in the Joaquin Valley had endured significant damage due to the untimely rain. Consequently, the growers expected great losses. To read more about the California grape crop after Hilary, follow this link to Fresh Fruit Portal’s report.

However, amidst these unfortunate circumstances, a silver lining emerged – the situation presented an opportunity to showcase to visitors the remarkable resilience and tolerance of the ARRA grape varieties in the face of such adverse weather conditions.

In the footage below, Uzi, Grapa’s R&D Director will explain in detail with live examples.

Great grapes, great friends, great times

At the festive dinner that has been a long running tradition during the field days, everyone met for dinner, but this year was a special opportunity to tour 30 years of table grape breeding, led by Shachar Karniel and as summed up beautifully in a homage movie produced by Louise Brodie and Dewald Kristen of Lucentlands.

Meantime in Peru

At the same time as the field days in California, ARRA Varieties also participated in the 1st International Table Grape Congress, held in Ica, Peru. Organized by the association of Table Grape Producers of Peru (PROVID), this congress discussed various topics focussing on the importance of introducing to Peru new varieties that will maximize production. Grapasa, the territorial representative for the ARRA™ varieties in South America represented the ARRA Varieties in full force. Our stand was a meeting point for many growers, and provided the opportunity to discuss technical issues and share valuable insights into the newest ARRA varieties and their significance for the Peruvian table grape industry.

The Grapasa Team at the ARRA Varieties stand: From left to right: Maria Eliana Mendez Allendes, Arsenio Duarez and Sofia Santa Maria

Height of grape season in Italy

In Italy, a big part of the season has been characterized by heavy rain and excessive heat starting from the end of June until mid of August.

In spite of the climatic stressors the varieties characteristics combined with the implementation of growing guidelines compiled by Grapa together with AVI agronomists, have emphasized the endurance and yield of this season’s production. The growers who shortened the bunches, selected quantities, and nourished the plant in a balanced way, achieved very good production.

This year Italy was about 2 weeks late in production. This was especially felt in Sicily where the harvest of ARRA Sugar Drop™, that usually starts at the end of May, only began this year in early June.

Charming Italy: ARRA Sugar Drop at Giacovelli SRL
Anna Giacovelli, sales representative of Giacovelli SRL, shares her experience: “In Italy, ARRA Sugar Drop is the pioneer of the season of the ARRA family. It can grow in different areas throughout Puglia, from July to late August. This year we started on 11 July.”
Giacovelli SRL’s lovable ARRA Passion Glow™
Giacovelli mixed punnets of ARRA Sugar Drop and ARRA Passion Glow

Giacovelli continues: “ARRA Passion Glow is the red jewel of the first ARRA generation. You can easily recognize it by sight, and you immediately fall in love with it. We started to harvest on 24 August. It could definitely be part of the ARRA Red Factor.”

ARRA Varieties in France

We’re pleased to bring you an update from France, where Hugo Mestre, the CEO of SARL Mesfruits, gives us all an overview of the season: “In the field, we finished ARRA Sugar Drop two weeks ago. Bunches were nice, berries 18-20 mm and the colour was a creamy white.”

Hugo continues: “Then we started to harvest ARRA Passion Glow last week, the colour is impressive, and this variety is very easy to grow. We had a 20 mm rain and the berries show a great result of hanging on the vines without cracking.”

Looking ahead, he shares: “In 10 days we will start harvesting ARRA Mystic Dream™. The colour is already black and the bunches are big, so we’re just waiting for more sugar. This variety shows a high fertility. The last one, ARRA Sweeties, will be picked in mid-September, the veraison already started and there’s great fertility on this variety too.”

Left: ARRA Sugar Drop, on the way to market ; Right: ARRA Mystic Dream, just before harvest at Mesfruits

Moving on to a sales update, Hugo tells us: “We launched our new brand of seedless grapes ZEPE, destined to our local market. ZE-PE means to “Zero seeds – 100 % grape!” Through the brand ZEPE, Mesfruits provides seedless grapes in 5 kg boxes and 500 gr punnets. The market feedbacks are good and promising for the future.”

Through the brand ZEPE, Mesfruits provides seedless grapes in 5 kg boxes and 500 gr punnets. The market feedbacks are good and promising for the future.”

Coming up next

As you read these lines, the Grapa team is on the way to Hong Kong. At Asia Fruit Logistica, we will be showcasing various varieties shipped especially for our visitors. We welcome you to schedule a meeting with us at our stand to enjoy the grapes’ beauty and savour their exquisite taste.

Don’t miss out on these other newsletters:

ARRA Cherry Crush™

The Crush Everyone’s talking about!

Tony Calvillo, Vice President of International Business Development, Dayka & Hackett LLC, shared: “Today, we visited the ARRA Cherry Crush—a grape variety that exceeds the expectations of growers, consumers, and retailers alike. We are thrilled to witness its remarkable potential. Boasting an alluring cherry colour, impressive size, abundant production, and a perfect balance of taste and crunch, ARRA Cherry Crush creates a mutually beneficial scenario for discerning producers, consumers, and retailers.”

ARRA Fire Crunch™

Igniting the senses

Just in time for the festive season, the inaugural batch of ARRA Fire Crunch™ made its way from Peru to the USA. Karl Conrads, founder, CEO of Grapasa accompanied the first year vines from budbreak all the way to Walmart facilities in Los Angeles.

Don’t miss the footage, showing this landmark arrival, now the sky’s the limit.

ARRA Passion Fire™

Sharing the passion – Right now in Southern Africa:

“It’s a great, beautiful grape, we are having a great time packing it.” shares Gabriel Viljoen of G.P. Viljoen Farming

We’ve heard other growers excited about this year’s performance.

“The ARRA Passion Fire was probably the most beautiful red grapes around on our farms.”

ARRA Fire Kiss™

Start the season with a Kiss

This year, attendees got a firsthand look at ARRA Fire Kiss™ in Egypt. What stood out was how distinctly different it was from the Flame, leaving no doubt that it is the perfect Flame replacement.