Above: Exsa visits IFG at Bakersfield in California. From left to right: Werner Naudé, IFG breeder Chris Owens, Reynecke Viljoen and IFG chief breeder Dr. David Cain.

Exsa variety specialist grower Reynecke Viljoen and technical manager Werner Naudé recently visited California and Spain in the continued quest for popular new varieties suitable for cultivation in South Africa.

In California they visited IFG and SunWorld. Exsa has a long standing relationship with International Fruit Genetics (IFG). “Our visit to IFG was very successful as the breeders showed us numerous exciting varieties that are currently under evaluation that have the potential to be suitable for South African production,” explained Reynecke Viljoen. The visit to SunWorld was also interesting and worthwhile with regards to exiting new varieties. “We also spent time visiting vineyards under nets and had the opportunity to speak to growers and to see local production practises. Seeing how Californian growers produce under nets was also extremely valuable.”

After California they visited the table grape production region around Murcia in South Eastern Spain. Here they visited Moyca, a large table grape producer and leaders in the field of grape production. They also visited international fruit breeders, SNFL, owners of the Sheehan table grape variety range.

Reynecke also stressed the importance for Exsa and Exsa growers of these regular visits to leading breeders and producers in California and Spain. “There is no substitute for visiting the industry leaders to observe the latest variety and production trends and to see how these can be adapted to South African production in a way to best serve our growers and clients,” he explained.