Q: Hi Luis, could you please introduce yourself. How long have you been working in the table grape industry in Chile, and specifically with Grapa?

A: As an Agricultural Engineer from the Catholic University of Valparaiso, I have dedicated my career to the cultivation of table grapes. For more than 22 years, I worked for one of Chile’s largest fruit exporters, gaining extensive experience in all aspects of production and becoming intimately familiar with the challenges and efforts required to produce a box of table grapes for the most demanding and distant markets.

I have been collaborating with GRAPASA for the past eight years, working on the technical development of different ARRA varieties in Chile and Peru. Through visiting fields and conducting technical seminars in various regions, we aim to provide producers with the most accurate information on the evolution of management protocols.Furthermore, our annual visits to California enable us to explore new varieties that have the potential to thrive in our hemisphere, paving the way for the development of new varietal alternatives and sharing knowledge with producers and technicians from all over the world.

Q: What are some of the challenges facing the table grape industry in Chile, and how can they be addressed?

A: A brief analysis of the industry is not easy, as the industry is going through difficult times and major adjustments. The table grape industry in Chile has undergone significant changes in the last decade. Peru has emerged as a relevant player, and varietal change has created a significant technical and commercial challenge. On top of that, the pandemic, drought, summer rainfall events, logistical crises, cost increases, and fumigation, among others, have further compounded the industry’s challenges. However, we remain committed to overcoming these challenges. Surface areas will need to be adjusted, and there is a consensus that varietal change is a fundamental part of the solution because the market demands it. 

Q: How can ARRA varieties help the industry in Chile overcome these challenges?

A: Today, local development and validation of varieties are of great importance. GRAPA has always considered productivity, ease of management, production costs, and post-harvest life as equally relevant characteristics in the selection of varieties. At present, early and mid-season green and red varieties show great potential, having already demonstrated their worth in other countries. Our work focuses on assessing their behaviour in different production areas of Latin.

Is there a new or upcoming ARRA variety that you are particularly excited about?

A: Of the upcoming ARRA varieties, I am particularly excited about ARRA 33 and ARD35. We are currently testing them in different areas and look forward to showcasing them soon. Additionally, I believe that 3-4 more varieties in quarantine will be of great interest in the future, and we are eager to start evaluating them.

Q:To conclude, how would you describe your experience with ARRA varieties in one sentence?

A: Overall, my experience with ARRA varieties has been an inspiring process, with challenges that we are committed to addressing, as we strive to improve the table grape industry in Chile and beyond.

Thank you Luis!