Dutch importer acquires majority of production at Greek Grape Company, giving it access to high-quality seedless Bloom Fresh varieties

Greek Grape Company Lennart van den Heuvel George Saliaris-Fasseas

Lennart van den Heuvel and George Saliaris-Fasseas sign the takeover agreement

This story was updated on 4 July to clarify the process by which OFG will work with GGC.

Dutch fresh produce company Olympic Food Group (OFG) says it has “taken over the commercial activities” of Greek Grape Company (GGC), one of Greece’s largest producers of white and red seedless table grapes.

Effective 1 July and announced on the eve of its participation in the Fruitnet Grape Congress in Rutigliano, Italy, the deal continues OFG’s recent expansion in the grape category.

OFG will procure the majority of crops grown on the 30ha site in Agios Pavlos, Halkidiki, in northern Greece. And the fruit will be sold mainly through its subsidiary Olympic Fruit.

According to those involved, the deal does not constitute a full buyout of the company, although such a move in the future has not been ruled out.

“Grapes are very important within Olympic Fruit’s range,” comments Lennart van den Heuvel, CEO of Olympic Food Group. “It is one of the products we have been specialists in for years, and we are therefore very pleased with this step. Being so close to the cultivation allows us to better ensure quality and availability for our customers.

George Saliaris-Fasseas, founder of GGC, is also enthusiastic about the deal. “I am delighted to cooperate with an innovative company in Holland that understands the fields, is practical in operations, and has similar quality standards to ours.”

Last year, GGC was reportedly ranked number-one quality supplier to its biggest UK retail customer, and was apparently also the first grape farm to be certified for sustainability.

It cultivates various white and red grape varieties developed by Bloom Fresh. Those white varieties include Sugar Crisp, Sweet Globe, and in future Cotton Candy, while the red varieties are Jack Salute and Sweet Celebration.

The first grapes will be available via Olympic Fruit around late August and should continue until the end of October.

Greek Grape Company

Greek Grape Company produces seedless varieties on 30ha in northern Greece

Pushing boundaries

“With Olympic Food Group’s guidance and partnership, we will keep on pushing our boundaries and delight their clients’ consumers in more countries,” Saliaris-Fasseas says.

The vineyard lies right by the north-west Aegean coast and is said to benefit from a unique north wind that enhances the grapes’ crispness. “Also,” adds Saliaris-Fasseas, “the stable climate and rich soil make this a perfect location for grape cultivation.”

The site is OFG’s third self-run production site for fruit outside the Netherlands, after its Cederberg grape plantation in South Africa, and Dojrana in North Macedonia, where it grows cherries, apricots, plums and apples.

As Van den Heuvel explains, having direct access to supply is an advantage. “Due to climate change, product availability is becoming an increasing challenge,” he notes. “Adding cultivation activities to our portfolio helps us secure this in a sustainable way.”