Table grapes are a relevant component of the Chilean economy. In Chile, table grape production is shaped by consumer’s preferences, agricultural demands and our own geographical reality. As principal markets for Chilean table grapes are located overseas the fruit have to be in perfect conditions up to 60 days after harvest, which is not a requirement on other table grape producer regions such as California, Italy or Spain. As result, many table grape varieties are not suitable for Chilean producers.
This provides a motivation for breeding new varieties tailored to the Chilean environment, national producer’s demand and international consumer’s preferences.
Plant breeding is a number’s game. The possibilities of finding a progeny that combines the best of both parents are low, especially in fruit breeding where quality at harvest and condition after cold storage increases the list of requirements.
Although these characteristics can be improved with agronomical practices, there is high genetic component within these traits. As example, ‘Red globe’ and ‘Thompson seedless’ differ on the size of their seeds and berries, traits that can be passed to their progeny. These differences have been exploited on grapevine breeding programs around the world.
The Agricultural Research Institute (INIA) is a private, non-profit, private law corporation, linked to the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture. It is financed mainly through public funds, based on an agreement with the Undersecretary of Agriculture, in addition to competitive research, technology transfer and extension projects, both public and private, as well as agreements and sale of technological products. That is why it has released Research and Development on Grapevines.