As the end of the year approaches, table grape supplies will ramp up for grower/importer Divine Flavor as the Peruvian crop is already underway. The company, who just visited with their grower partners in the Ica region of Peru, is eager for a stronger season in terms of quality and total volume of premium grapes such as Sweet Globe and Autumn Crisp, and for the first time ever, organic Autumn Crisp.
Through strategic partnership, Divine Flavor has expanded its growing territories throughout South America (mostly in Peru and Chile) and working with well-established growers who put an emphasis on sustainable agriculture, social programs and producing superb quality table grapes.
The team from Divine Flavor.
“Peru is one of the world’s best regions for producing quality grapes and our teams do a fantastic job here, not only with producing these varieties, but complying with every facet of industry requirements,” said Antonio Escobar, grapes category manager of Divine Flavor.
Divine Flavor’s import deal also includes shipments from South Africa which the company started with last season and will continue for 2022; shipments from Chile; and recently added vineyards in Jalisco, Mexico which starts in April just before the Sonora, Mexico deal.
In the past few years, Divine Flavor has been working more with licensed IFG growers overseas to stretch the availability of its top variety lineup. This includes its popular Cotton Candy grapes as well as Gummyberries, and Jellyberries.
“Cotton Candy is really a challenge and sometimes risky for the import deal,” said Escobar. “It’s tough to reach peak flavor and then put it on a boat for 15 plus days. We always want to meet the demand for the high-flavored grapes, but it requires a lot of discipline because we want to offer our customers the best quality fruit even if it’s in small quantities.”
Left: Allison grapes; right: Sweet Globe.
In related news, Gerd Burmester has joined Divine Flavor and will represent as its grower relations coordinator in Peru. Burmester operated as commercial director of Ecosac Agricola, a current Divine Flavor grape partner in Peru, for the past nine years and he also serves as co-founder and commercial director of BBC Fresh Group which helps small to medium-size companies with direct export of fruit and representation of companies to establish procurement base in Peru.
“With Divine, I am accompanying them to define a solid grape procurement base here in Peru,” said Burmester. “We select the correct companies and assist the commercial process from the very beginning so that Divine Flavor has strategic suppliers who share the same values.”
This year’s Peruvian season is estimated to see around 64 million boxes of table grapes in total production. Other varieties include Sable, Allison, Timco, Jack Salutes, Crimsons and Thompsons.