Over the last ten years, the table grape industry has shown great vigor regarding varieties as countless new patented varieties emerged. The Southern Hemisphere exporters threw themselves into planting and testing them and these efforts are currently bearing fruit. For exports, the traditional varieties are being left behind while the new ones, which are more popular, are beginning to make an impression.
The success of the fresh table grape trade was due to seedless grapes which are resistant to long journeys and stored in a vault. For the white category, it was mainly the Thompson Seedless, followed by Sugraone, Imperial, Regal, and Prime varieties. For the reds, it was Flame, Crimson and Sunred that were the most successful. The black color category saw the slowest progress as it only has a small share in trade.
An exception within the popular seedless world is the Red Globe variety that continues to be well-received despite having seeds. Ten years ago, countries in the Southern Hemisphere began to export these grapes.
For example, Chile and South Africa shipped many Thompson and Flame varieties, Argentina had Imperial and Peru exported almost all Red Globe.
But this has changed dramatically. On few occasions was the turn towards newly patented varieties so marked as it was in the Southern Hemisphere. Recently, the share of classic varieties fell sharply. In the season that just ended, Chile reached 60 percent, Peru at 50 percent and South Africa dropped to almost a third.
The varietal offering in Chile, Peru and South Africa has greatly expanded, with countless new varieties of different colors of table grapes. It is not yet known which of these will be the most successful and will prevail, although some are already being considered.
For example, with the classic varieties, the greatest reduction was the Thompson and Flame, while the Crimson variety continues to be one of the most exported. Among the patented, there are some that in the three countries are among first place; in the case of the red variety, they are Sweet Celebration and Allison, in white the Sweet Globe and Arra 15.
Chile: Even though the classic varieties still dominate, the new ones are gaining ground. Among these, the red varieties stand out which are exported the most; Sweet Celebration, Timco and Allison. The only patented white variety that ranks is Arra 15.
Peru: Ten years ago 75 percent of the country's table grape exports were Red Globe. A huge varietal change was made, in such a way that today only a third is Red Globe. There is 20 percent of other classics like Crimson or Sugraone and the other half are the patented ones.
Within this, the Sweet Globe stands out, which became the second most exported variety by Peru.
In addition, unlike Chile and South Africa, in Peru, within the new varieties, white are those with the largest share. Along with Sweet Globe, there is the Timpson, Ivory, Arra 15 and Sugar Cripp's. Among red, the Sweet Celebration, Allison and Jack's Salute stand out.
South Africa: The country that made the most progress in patents. Currently just over a third are the classics, standing out are Crimson, Prime and Thompson. Among the patented varieties, the reds Scarlotta, Tawny, Sweet Celebration, Allison, Starlight and Ralli stand out.
White is in second place with Autumn Crip's, Sweet Globe, Early Sweet and Arra 15. In South Africa, some black also appear among the main ones, such as Midnight Beauty, Sable, Sweet Joy, Adora, Melody and Sweet Saphire.
Author: Ing.Agr. Betina Ernst
Weeks ahead of the season’s first South African grape exports, South Africa’s table grape industry released a strong statement on Sept. 22. The indication is that its growers are ready for a much better season than the last.