Jupiter Group has been evaluating promising new grape varietals in preparation for its commercial Greek grape season. The Greek grape crop this year is running later than usual due to a lengthy winter and a cold spring, but the crops should be good this year because of the abundance of winter rain. The Jupiter Group, from its breeders Grapa Varieties, is now in its fifth year as the master licence holder of ARRATM varieties in Greece. The Group has an early white and a mid-late red in years one and two of evaluation in Greece. The white variant, called as ARRA YUM!BOTM, is picked after ARRA SUGAR DROPTM (ARRA 30) and ripens at the same time as Thompson (ARRA 34). The first year of test production has seen outstanding growth in the jumbo size berries.
“It is great to witness the new types prospering so well first-hand in Greece,” said Mark Tweddle, founder and managing director of Jupiter Group. “The test block looks poised for another impressive season, and we’re keen to see what moves into commercial production.” The Group is currently in the second year of test production of a mid-late red ARRATM variety. The berry’s natural dark pink colour is crisp, and it has a high yield and great consistent size. According to John Ferguson, New Variety Development Manager at The Jupiter Group, “We currently estimate in excess of 1750 tonnes of ARRATM varieties this season, which is up significantly from previous year.”
The main season will begin in early September with the ARRA SweetiesTM (ARRA 15), and it will end in mid-November with the great late black, the ARRA Mystic DreamTM (ARRA 32). With the latter varieties, we can extend the black season by three to four weeks. In the future, we are expecting to obtain positive test-block results so we can introduce a really late red and late white to complement the range. The ARRA 34 and mid-late red are still in the testing stage. We moved a few plants this year to semi-commercial levels to test in the fields, but if the trials are successful, we would anticipate planting commercial volumes over the following two to three years if the trials continue as well as they have to date.”. However, for the upcoming 2022 season, UK retailers and European retailers will continue to be the group’s primary markets. This flexibility is provided by the ARRATM variety.