OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE FOR TABLE GRAPES
An extensive programme that’s taken 15 years of careful grape variety selection and breeding by the Giumarra family in California has finally reached its commercial availability stage with the release of a number of exciting new varieties.
One of the best established, largest growers in the San Joaquin Valley with their famous ‘GrapeKing’ brand, Giumarra Vineyards Corporation, has invested heavily in the breeding programme, ensuring that it holds exciting, genuine opportunities for early, mid and late season varieties. Efficiency of production, colour, seedlessness and flavour are all strict selection criteria with the result that the new opportunities are certain rivals to staple varieties such as Flame, Thompson and Crimson.
If growers needed further information to whet their appetites for these new flavours, the news that Shachar Karniel (pictured to the right) — original breeder of the variety Early Sweet — is the breeder behind the research should help convince of the credentials. He collaborated with Salvador Giumarra, who contributes to the program on the agricultural aspect, and John Giumarra, who contributes on the consumer and commercial aspects, to develop and improve the genetic repository of the plant material to result in such a comprehensive new range of grapes. Through Grapa Company’s distributor business, owned by the Karniel family, Rafi Karniel is looking forward to seeing many growers around the world avail themselves of these new varieties.
In the UK, Mack Multiples is the preferred partner of Giumarra as an advisory and marketing link to join growers with retailers. Mack have been involved for many years now, helping advise on supply gaps and on the needs of the UK market. As a result, Mack growers around the world are among the first to plant these varieties. However, unlike most other breeding programmes, growers wishing to plant these new varieties will not find themselves tied into a resulting marketing agreement, merely a standard licensing agreement with Grapa Company as the worldwide distributor and Master-Licensee of the Giumarra ARRA varieties.
Mack has this week taken delivery of the first commercially available white grape volumes grown in California from the Giumarra programme. Assessment of the ‘ARRA15’ crop indicates that indeed, the claims of a new rival to Thompson being within the programme are no exaggeration.
Speaking of their collaboration in this project, Dan Crooks, Commercial Director of Mack Grapes, confirmed the company’s commitment to innovation. “We’ve had a really interesting time working with Shachar over the last five years, bringing our UK market insights and challenges to the Giumarra programme. Our grower partners around the world have benefited from being in prime position not just to plant the newly available varieties but to know that they’re planting quality grapes that fulfill a real market need. This is not just innovation for innovation’s sake — it’s strategic investment from an industry specialist and we’re very proud of our ongoing association with the programme and its partners.”
We sense a bit of a challenge in this release to the model of distribution where certain organizations are the exclusive marketers for varieties.
We suppose there is room in the world for multiple models.
What we like is that breeding and marketing are now being intertwined in many breeding programs. The old vision of a breeder working in isolation is fading, as the importance of meeting consumer demand is being highlighted.
Delivering a product more valued by consumers is always the key to boosting sales and consumption.
The marketing model for the industry, though, is important as even fantastic-tasting varieties can come to be overproduced, and the question for the industry is not just to find a way to delight consumers but, rather, to delight consumers at a price that creates a decent return for the grower.
Many thanks to Andrew Sharp for passing this item along.