Eco-sustainable and residue-free cultivation prompted the Italian OP Agritalia growers' association to experiment with a new technique for the cultivation of grapes.
Packing the grape clusters in paper bags not only protects them from external factors such as parasites and fungi, but also completely eliminates treatments, while preserving the qualitative characteristics and the aroma and taste of the grapes.
"We started with a residue-free grape cultivation because we consider the well-being of our customers a fundamental aspect of our mission," said Michele Laporta, president of OP Agritalia, a growers' association from Barletta (Apulia) that grows 4,000 tons of grapes every year.
Michele Laporte, director of Agritalia
OP Agritalia guarantees the quality of a controlled supply chain and offers consumers a wide range of organically grown crops.
"This technique also allows us to achieve a result in terms of environmental sustainability. The grapes stay on the plant for a longer time, which allows us to reduce energy consumption. In this way we can help the environment and at the same time provide the consumer with a fresh crop."
The sealed paper method gives good results in terms of bunch weight, aroma, size and consistency of the flesh. The grapes that complete the ripening cycle in the paper bag show very good characteristics, both in terms of aesthetics and health. This means not only respect for the environment and food safety, but also excellent quality.
Grape production 2021, with bunches packed in paper bags
"Although this technique involves an increase in costs, the results are promising. Retailers are enthusiastic and sales are good. Modern horticulture also means increasing the quantity and quality of production while reducing the environmental impact to ensure an ecologically sustainable and traceable product."
The University of Foggia is also involved in the experiment and has supported the monitoring for the past five seasons to verify all qualitative aspects of the grapes.
"By studying the data, the university is also monitoring the changes, not only in terms of appearance (color, consistency), but also in terms of the content (sugars, acids, carotenoids, vitamin C, antioxidant activity). This is a test that we carry out in the fields," said Laura De Palma, professor of general arboriculture at the University of Foggia.