ARRA varieties’ endurance to weather change and extreme climatic conditions is highlighted throughout this edition. However first we’ll start with some Grapa team expansion news.
In Early August, Grapa appointed Georgios Bitsakos as the company’s Head of Brand Marketing. We are all excited about having Georgios onboard. He brings a wealth of experience in the fresh produce industry, having worked over 14 years at Tesco, where he held a variety of roles in sourcing and technical functions. He is a passionate advocate for the ARRA varieties grapes and is committed to raising our profile in the global market.
In his new role, Georgios will be responsible for developing and executing Grapa’s marketing strategy. He will work with growers and marketers to promote the unique qualities of the ARRA varieties to retailers and consumers around the world. He will also be responsible for developing processes and resources to help ARRA growers optimize their market engagement.
Rafi Karniel, Grapa Varieties CEO and Chairman expresses his delight: “We are thrilled to welcome Georgios to the Grapa team. He is a highly experienced and respected professional with a deep understanding of the fresh produce industry. We are confident that he will be a valuable asset to Grapa.”
Georgios is excited to join Grapa and help promote the ARRA varieties. “ARRA grapes are a delicious and versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways,” he said. “I am committed to working with growers, marketers and retailers to make ARRA grapes more accessible to consumers around the world.”
Georgios joined the Grapa team at Asia Fruit Logistica earlier this month, hitting the ground running, as an integral part of the dynamic atmosphere at our stand.
Asia Fruit Logistica finally returned after 4 years to Hong Kong, and was a grand and eventful fair. This was the perfect setting for the Grapa team, now reinforced by Georgios, to enjoy meeting with our international partners as well as interesting new prospects.
This year marked a significant shift, with visitors and importers from all over Asia already familiar with ARRA varieties, importing them from various global production areas to different Asian markets. They are now actively looking to expand their sourcing countries.
Our stand showcased an array of the finest ARRA table grapes, drawing immense interest in the new red ARRA varieties, especially ARRA Fire Crunch™. Its color, crunch, and size left visitors mesmerized. The very early white ARRA Honey Pop™ drew much attention with its striking shape and eating experience, retained exceptionally after two months in cold storage. An additional very special favorite was the late black ARRA Mystic Dream™, whose outstanding bloom was a real showstopper.
Extreme weather remains in the news, with the third day of the exhibition cancelled due to heavy rains and flooding in Hong Kong.
Nonetheless, during the 2 days that preceded the Typhoon, the stand display was also an unplanned opportunity to show the resilience of the ARRA varieties from California, following the strong rains that hit the state in August.
Hilary was the 1st tropical storm to hit the West Coast in more than 8 decades. It brought a year’s worth of rain in just a couple of days right at the peak of the season for the California table grape growers. This exposed many growers to large losses, and as a family business who focuses on farmers, our hearts go out to them. In a world with climate change and extreme weather conditions plaguing so many regions around the globe, the ARRA varieties are proud to be able to offer a solution that will benefit the growers and minimize the risks they face.
In our previous newsletter edition, Uzi Yaron, Grapa’s R&D Director showed you the grapes on the week of the rains. Today we bring you footage from a few weeks after the storm, in which Joe Giumarra, Vice President of Farming, presents the mid-late varieties that withstood the storm. So just click and view!
In 2023, the Greek grape crop faced a series of unparalleled climatic challenges that significantly impacted the sector. The growing season commenced with an alarmingly dry winter and spring, where the lack of rainfall created water scarcity issues in the South mainly, stressing the vineyards.
The adversity continued with an unforgiving summer, characterized by frequent heatwaves – especially in the South where the more traditional varieties are being grown, that worsened the drought conditions. The soaring temperatures stressed the grapevines further, accelerating ripening and causing a reduction in yield in many regions. But even with these very adverse conditions we had been experiencing a fantastic crop quality of the ARRA varieties in the North where they are being grown, because of the demonstrated resilience of the Greek ARRA growers, under the guidance of Andre Vermaak, and the proven adaptation of ARRA varieties to various climatic conditions and environments.
But just when it seemed like the season couldn’t get any more challenging, September brought extremely heavy rainfalls. This sudden shift in weather patterns presented a fresh set of challenges. While the rains were welcomed after the prolonged dry times, the excessive amount within a short period proved detrimental. The grape bunches that were near harvesting were subjected to diseases such as rot and mildew, and the waterlogged soils in several regions also raised concerns over root health and nutrient uptake. While the final figures are yet to be ascertained, it is anticipated that the grape crop of 2023 in Greece will be significantly smaller in volume compared to previous years.
The extreme weather events have not only challenged the quantity, but also influenced the quality of the grapes. As we assess the situation in the ARRA plantations, we are pleased to share photos from Kavala taken on 13 September. We will bring you more updates in our next edition.
We invite you to meet the Grapa team at the Fruit Attraction Exhibition in Madrid on October 3-5. Don’t miss the opportunity to see and taste the finest ARRA varieties. We will be waiting for you in Hall 8 stand 8C19. To schedule a meeting, please contact us at email@example.com
Additionally, if you’re in the area between October 19-21, don’t miss The Global Produce & Floral Show in Anaheim, CA where you can meet the Giumarra team at IFPA Stand 2372.
Stay tuned for more information on the 10th International Table Grape Symposium in South Africa, which Grapa and TopFruit are sponsoring together. If you plan to attend, please let us know so that we can be in touch leading up to the event.
The GRAPA Newsletter is going on vacation, but don’t worry, we’ll be back as of October 15th with news of the late varieties in Europe and soon after the early birds of the Southern Hemisphere.
Don’t miss out on these other newsletters:
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.”
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.
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.”
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.