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Lucien de Wit, LuBa Fresh:

"In Italy, switching to seedless grapes is gaining momentum"

Last weekend, Luba Fresh's Lucien and Luuk de Wit visited their grape suppliers in Puglia, Italy. "We try to visit our regular suppliers once or twice a year. That's important, especially now, with all the new seedless grape developments in Italy," says Lucien.

Lucien and Luuk with supplier, Vito, in one of his vineyards.

"Ten, 15 years ago, the entire Italian grape gamma consisted of white, red, and black, seeded grapes. I think the Italia and Victoria grapes are still unsurpassed in flavor. Italy is one of the last countries to change and focus on seedless grapes at the request of European retail customers. They've, thus, added lots of seedless varieties in recent years."

La Pernice's packing facility, where the quality brand, available exclusively in the Netherlands at Luba Fresh, comes from.

"Not all clients are equally happy about this. It brings a huge range of varieties on the market, but eventually, only the top sellers will remain," Lucien expects. He says this season's grapes are of excellent quality. "It's been hot in Italy since March. It rained a little now for the first time in four months. The warm weather means the berries are a little small, but they taste great. The current slightly lower temperatures offer prospects for the later varieties, which will come onto the market in September and October."

Lucien visited, among others, their regular supplier, La Pernice. Luba Fresh exclusively carries these in the Dutch market. They are also the sole BERGWARE distributor in the south of the Netherlands. "We get these grapes in their unusual packaging three times a week. They're already divided up before arrival," explains Lucien, who is thrilled that his son Luuk has inherited his love for the business. "Next year, it's 30 years that I've worked with my Italian business partner, Mario Perrone, who's known Luuk since he was in diapers."

Luuk, Lucien, and Mario Perrone, who has been Lucien's business partner in Italy for almost 30 years.

This year, seedless grapes are about a euro more expensive per box than last year. "But, that doesn't nearly cover the huge cost increases. Road transport alone already costs 25-30% more," says Lucien. And grape sales are different than in the past, notes the grape specialist. "You can still get acceptable prices for top-quality grapes. However, these days, there's really no market for inferior quality grapes," he concludes.

BERGWARE grapes' unusual packaging makes them especially popular with LubaFresh clients.

For more information:
Luciƫn de Wit
LuBa Fresh
Tel: +31 (0) 777 777 715
Mob: +31 (0) 641 273 443
Email: [email protected]  

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