Retail grape sales turn over as normal, but which market could close next?

ARRA Varieties were recently featured in Fresh Plaza.  Click here to read the article.

Grape Alliance managing director Leon de Kock says the company can see supermarket orders from Europe and the UK coming in stronger as they pick up the slack with their Hex River grapes as the Orange River crop is reduced by rain damage.

It’s been a bit of a stop-start season in the Hex River Valley.

“The sugars are developing more gradually than last year,” he says.

“We’re not late, the way the Orange River was late, we’re more or less on time. All of the cultivars, including Crimsons with which we expect to start next week, are slower to ripen, which you can see as a good thing, having the grapes more spread out than last year.”


In their Hex River vineyards they’re packing red ARRA 29 and white ARRA 15 (above). Their Namibian season went without a hitch, with steady quality and strong volumes.

Wind and productivity constraints at Cape Town Harbour, due to Covid, led them to pack grape consignments originally meant for two vessels onto the Maersk Luz, which was since delayed by two weeks in Cape Town.

In two days’ time the vessel is arriving in Rotterdam, 12 days late, with their first Hex River grapes for Europe and the UK. Not overjoyed about it, he says, but they’re being philosophical.

Demand for grapes is steady, and while the price did drop after Christmas as it always will, it remained firmer after Christmas than one could perhaps have expected,” Leon says.

“The big risk now is the closure of markets due to Covid. That causes some uncertainty. But the fact that we can fill orders coming our way as a result of lower Orange River volumes – and we will definitely have enough grapes – places us in a good position.”

Seventy percent of their grapes go to Europe and to the UK.

The big thing they’re seeing with retail, where weekly sales figures show a year-on-year rise, is that, unlike during the first lockdown period, things are progressing as normal.

ARRA 29 and ARRA 15

Business as usual post-Brexit

Does post-Brexit UK feel any different? “It’s only to Europeans that it feels so different but for us it’s business as usual, we’ve always been used to the paperwork and phytosanitary certificates that accompany international trade, so for us there’s nothing new to the current situation.”

Transport within the UK is perhaps slightly slower than usual, but that he ascribes to Covid, not to Brexit, and anyway, he says, that’s negligible compared to the vessel delay.

ARRA 29 grapes being packed for Grape Alliance in the Hex River Valley (photos supplied by Leon de Kock)

They have had no incidences of Covid in their packhouses and the one case in their head office was swiftly isolated and no further infections followed.

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.