CL Copiapó grapes maountain vineyard

Chile’s Consorcio de la Fruta held a field day in Curacaví recently to update producers on the progress made under the Table Grape Genetic Improvement Programme, which aims to develop high quality, Botrytis-resistant varieties resistant for export.

The consortium unveiled three strains, two seedless and one seeded, which are at an advance stage of development and could become commercial varieties, and said it hoped to have four more new varieties ready for commercial production in 2018.

“Today is about demonstrating the advances in the programme to the members of the consortium,” said Dr Patricio Arce from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, who is charge of the programme. “We are presenting three strains – two seedless and one seeded – which are at an advanced stage of development and very close to becoming commercial varieties, and have another seven at the pre-selection stage which are currently undergoing evaluation.”

The consortium also presented a series of hybrid variants showing “huge potential”.

According to Arce, all the selections have one thing in common which sets them apart from other varieties being developed internationally and that is their resistance to Botrytis.

“It is vitally important for our growers to have access to new varieties that are able to withstand the long transit times involved in reaching distant markets such as Asia while meeting the requirements of the market in terms of quality and flavour,” said Asoex president Ronald Bown.

Consorcio de la Fruta is funded both privately and publicly through the Chilean Economic Development Agency’s InnovaChile programme. Corfo executive Jorge Rivero noted that the long-term strategy to develop domestic grape varieties would reduce Chile’s reliance on foreign breeders and help boost the industry’s competitiveness.