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Australian grapes on show in KoreaThe Australian Table Grape Association has travelled to Korea, as part of a promotional launch and an education campaign regarding taste and colour differences in Australian grapes.
The Association's CEO Jeff Scott says it is important to introduce the Asian country to the different forms and colours of Thompson Seedless grapes.
"They are used to buying Thompson's which are very green in colour," Mr Scott said. "But when you leave the Thompson's on the vine a little longer they become very sweet and develop an amber/golden colour to them. So we need to educate the Korean consumer, and wholesaler, to say the yellowy golden colour of the Thompsons is because they are sweeter. Korea is usually a country that buys by sight, not by taste."
Mr Scott has labelled the launch, which is aimed at producers and consumers, a success.
"We invited the major importers, wholesalers, distributers to a briefing," he said. "We had around 80 people attend and, as a result of that, we have already had around 20 articles written in the Korean media."
The ATGA last month met with representatives in Japan as a forerunner to the ongoing bi-lateral discussions.
While talks are on hold pending further discussions regarding additional varietal access, Mr Scott is hopeful of increasing the grape varieties to the country in the near future.
The Association is also looking to clear the way for exports to the United States, as early as next season.
"They would have liked to have given us a declaration of the revising of our protocol by last November, but that hasn't come through yet, given the circumstances of the presidential elections," Mr Scott said.
"I'd imagine that in time the USDA will sit down and revisit the requirements for entry into the U.S for Australian grapes and we are hoping for that to happen by next season."
Back home, Mr Scott says it has been a different grape season to last year, which has not been without its difficulties.
But he says the fruit is being exported in large volumes.
"The prices are down on previous years, but they are down for every country," Mr Scott said. "There is still a lot of fruit being exported at the moment. We are a few weeks behind in terms of our export season itself compared to last year as a result of waiting for that Australian quality and maturity level."
Australian Table Grape Association Inc.
Tel: +61 35021 5718
Author: Matt Russell
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