Mediterranean countries show great potential for new grape varieties

More News Top Stories
Mediterranean countries show great potential for new grape varieties

This year, the Mediterranean grape season indicates an earlier start as the area experiences higher temperatures, more frequent heatwaves, and changing rainfall patterns, which affect grape harvest timing and quality.

The unpredictability of long-term climate forecasts adds another layer of complexity. For example, although seasonal forecasts might predict a high probability of a hot summer in 2024, inaccurate predictions could lead to significant financial losses for growers who have adjusted their practices based on these forecasts.

Some adapt by shifting to grape varieties that are more resilient to extreme weather changes or with short growing cycles like the ARRA varieties, or by altering their farm management practices to cope with the new climate realities


The Egyptian table grape season had an early start, about 10 days earlier than last year. Having just returned from Egypt, Georgios Bitsakos, head of brand marketing at Grapa Varieties, elaborates: “This early onset has led to a simultaneous early harvest of several varieties, generating a shorter harvest capacity, potentially creating a gap in supply during mid to late season.” 

However, “the quality of Egyptian grapes will guarantee them a good place in the markets”, affirms Georgios. 

Very early varieties benefit growers due to their early market arrival and sustainability, attributed to their short growing cycles. Short cycles are translated to economic efficiency, consuming less water, pesticides, fertilizers, and labor.

Shorter growing cycles are helping secure the crop as it minimizes the risk of exposure to unexpected heat waves or unexpected rain.

The first shipment of Grapa’s  Early Sweet left Egypt for Europe on May 6th. While Early Sweet continues to be very popular in early-growing countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Mexico, and Namibia as well as the northern region in South Africa, the new generation ARRA Honey Pop is starting to pop up.

Georgios mentions, “This variety's unique combination of quality and economic efficiency makes it stand out in the early grape market.” Along with the red ARRA Fire Kiss, and the black ARRA Mystic Charm, these make the grape world's earliest trio, showing great promise.

ARRA Honey Pop is already entering its second year of commercial production in Egypt, USA, RSA, and Mexico, while Australia is producing it for the first year. The splendid results speak for themselves as there is a very high demand for plantations amongst both new and current ARRA growers with positive feedback from marketplaces.

“Next year we will be able to see more Egyptian ARRA Fire Kiss”, says Georgios, “the variety offers a crispier texture, without the challenges often associated with Flame. This improvement makes a bright prospect for the future, promising a higher quality product for consumers.” 

Although it's an early region already successfully producing ARRA Passion Fire and ARRA Sugar Drop, Egyptian growers have prudently decided to broaden their market offerings by also planting mid and late-season varieties. This creates great potential for the later new ARRA red varieties, such as ARRA Fire Crunch and ARRA Cherry Crush.

The varieties show excellent performance and will offer many advantages to the growers that will grow them.

“This chosen path proves the resilience and adaptability of Egyptian growers, paving the way for a fruitful and diverse grape market. Despite dealing with inflation and other global challenges, the innovative spirit of the Egyptian grape industry remains evident, setting the stage for a promising future”, finalizes Georgios.

The Moroccan harvest of Early Sweet and ARRA Passion Fire continues, ensuring a continuous market supply. Another Mediterranean country with an early start is Italy, which began harvesting greenhouse-grown Sicilian ARRA Sugar Drop™ in mid-May, thus advancing the Italian supply window.

Georgios estimates that this early Sicilian season will see strong market demand. There is still time until the Greek ARRA season starts, but it’s also showing indications of earliness. The different growing regions in the Mediterranean are strategically positioned to optimize their supply windows, offering retailers a consistent and wide-ranging selection of ARRA varieties. 

Subscribe to our newsletter