3 minute read

Varieties Varieties to watch

Varieties to watch

For many international buyers of Australian table grapes, it’s all about new.

The ATGA’s best estimate is that new grape varieties make up 20 per cent of export volume, but also achieve higher unit price return than the original public varieties.

We spoke to Sun World’s licensing manager Adam Knoll and Sheehan Genetics Australia general manager Rachael McClintock to get a sneak peek of some new and upcoming varieties to the Australian market. SHEEGENE 18 (KELLY)

A popular variety in Spain and Italy due to its ease of growing and production, Kelly is a mid-tolate season green seedless.

“Consumers and buyers are attracted to the flavour and size of Kelly, while growers are attracted to Kelly due to the ease of growing and resistance to rain late in the season,” Rachael said.

With crisp large berries and lovely flavour, Kelly extends the green seedless supply season and stores well.

Both Kelly and Carlita varieties are gaining strong interest within Australia with new and existing Sheehan growers due to their unique characteristics. Kelly is due to be released for commercial plantings in winter 2021.

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SHEEGENE 25 (CARLITA)

An elegant large pink/red grape in shape and colour, Carlita’s texture and flavour have shown excellent potential for export market opportunities, with “buyers attracted to the crispness, colour and crunch”, according to Rachael.

“Carlita is easy to grow with a loose bunch structure that reduces disease issues during the growing season,” Rachael said. “It’s a very unique variety gaining international attraction with buyers.”

Having been trialled and researched in Sunraysia over the past few seasons (released 2018), this mid-to-late season alternative to Crimson is now available for commercial plantings. SUGRAFORTYTHREE

Sun World’s Sugrafortythree is an ultra-late green seedless grape new to the Australian market.

Its naturally large berries – up to 26mm without GA – have a firm crisp texture, a “hallmark of this exciting new variety”, according to Adam.

Sugrafortythree’s “milky green” berries are harvested mid-tolate April, satisfying primarily the domestic market.

With a variety stem that stays green at room temperature longer than other varieties, Sugrafortythree’s extended shelf life helps growers “overcome supply constraints, until winter transition when new season imports are available”, Adam said.

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SUGRAFORTYNINE (SOLD UNDER MIDNIGHT BEAUTY® BRAND)

An ultra-early black seedless variety, Sun World’s Sugrafortynine is currently being trialled in Australia, having been well-received globally.

Commercial plantings of this “grower friendly variety similar to Sugrathirteen (MIDNIGHT BEAUTY® brand)” will begin in the 2021–22 season.

Harvested in Australia in November for Queensland growers and early January in Sunraysia, three weeks before Sugrathirteen, Sugrafortynine produces fully black elongated berries, firm and juicy with a hint of tropical flavours. It has medium to high vigour, with a large broad loose 650g cluster.