A consortium led by the Chilean exporters association ASOEX have unveiled a new red seedless table grape variety developed in the South American nation, and offers a long post-harvest life cycle and crisp, apple-like crunch.
According to a statement, the new variety is a result of work by the consortium which included ASOEX, 27 fruit exporters, the Chilean state investment promotion agency Corfo, and technical support from Chile’s Catholic University.
“Today the table grape industry is in a reconversion process and this new variety arrives in a precise moment to support this process, because it is developed for Chilean growers and exporters,” said Sergio Maureira, general manager of the consortium.
The variety, which does not yet have a commercial name, was developed over 15 years and tested in growing regions ranging from Chile’s northern Copiapo region all the way to vineyards in Central Chile just south of the capital of Santiago.
The consortium’s Genetic Improvement Program (PMG) has been working on table grapes since 2007, and also has projects involving raspberries, stone fruit, apples and cherries. Another black grape variety is also in the works. It also has 31 other table grape selections being tested. Of this later figure, 10 are considered “promising”.
According to PMG advisor Rodrigo Sapiain the new variety can be harvested in February, with some regions able to harvest in January, making it an early and mid season variety. It’s berries are between 19 to 21 mm at this stage of new plant growth, but researchers expect it to render berry sizes 20mm and above in the future.
It also stands out due to it’s resilience against rain and resists fungus well, Sapiain added. This allows it to be produced with less applications of products to treat the fungus, making it more sustainable and cost effective.
The consortium is in the process of registering the variety with Chiles’s plant and animal service SAG.
Chilean institutions have been ramping up the development of new table grape varieties, and a separate research entity said a white seedless grape variety could be commercially available later this year.