Published on March 9, 2020 in Fresh Plaza

New Grapa CEO Shiko Domovitz: “Excited about table grape opportunities”

Early ARRA varieties kick off Israeli table grape season

ARRA Varieties was recently featured in Fresh Plaza.  Click here to view the original article.

The Israeli table grape season has just started last week with the ARRA Honey Pop™ harvest, while the ARRA Sugar Drop™ will follow this week. This also marks the fifth month as CEO of Grapa for Shiko Domovitz, who is “excited about table grape opportunities.”

Chen Salomon with ARRA Honey Pop

Chen Salomon, owner of Salmor Grapes, located in the Jordan Valley in Israel, is harvesting his first commercial production of ARRA Honey Pop and ARRA Sugar Drop. Both varieties are grown under greenhouses and this allows the grapes to ripen even earlier.

The ARRA Honey Pop harvest in Salmor Grapes started last Sunday and ARRA Sugar Drop will follow in the coming days. “I am very happy with the production of ARRA Honey Pop. The variety’s very short growing cycle, productivity and being very low-in-labor, as well as its high level of crunchiness and size, make this the perfect very early variety to grow. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how both varieties kept their own characteristics even when grown under glass rather than in the open field and this doesn’t usually happen with other varieties. After the season ends, I will further adapt the protocol to the greenhouse growing practices in order to obtain an even better crop,” stated Salomon.

As the new CEO of Grapa, there was no time for Domovitz to ease into the position. He started at the peak of the Southern Hemisphere table grape season and had to hit the ground running as the Northern hemisphere takes off at full swing.

Fortunately this is not new terrain for Domovitz, who was the former CEO of Tali Grapes, the largest table grape growing and marketing cooperative in Israel. It is one of the main reasons why the Karniel family, owners of Grapa, recruited him. He explains what motivated him to take up the position at the family run business that has been cultivating grapes since 1882.

“Two years ago, while in my previous position, I was sitting with the Karniel family. I realised the revolution of the new varieties over the past 10 years. In Israel it is very easy to change to the new varieties. The price and demand for them is higher while the potential is huge. This is a significant move for me to join and run the company responsible for the breakthroughs of the new generation varieties. Grapa has the right varieties to flourish in the 30 countries we already operate in and for extending to many more new territories,” explains Domovitz.

Rafi Karniel, Chairman of Grapa, explains why they appointed Domovitz. “Our family business grew with us. We are seeing big breakthroughs in territories and varieties. Shiko brings his marketing experience while sharing his insight and knowledge to drive the promotion of our brands. His job is to bring the unique characteristics of our varieties to each territory, while bringing more consumer awareness and focus to ARRA varieties and branding.”

Nomi Karniel-Padan, commercial director at Grapa highlights, “Each variety needs to be developed to reach its best full potential. If we did this, then we did the right thing. In each territory we will focus on technical support to growers, this is good for the market and for consumers while growers are able to increase their income. There will be a lot more plantings of our ARRA varieties around the world and the marketers worldwide are very excited about the upcoming availability of our new varieties”.

While he remains tight-lipped about the immediate prospects Domovitz said they will continue to surprise and make more announcements. This will interest not only attendees of the ARRA open field days in California during July and August this year, but many others in the industry as well.

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