“Look at them! Don’t the little ones look great?” Grape grower Vito Giuliano affectionately calls new grape varieties his little ones. He treats them like his own children. “They’re really sweet,” he says, munching on a few of them. Grapes are Vito’s passion, one could say his life. Now in its fourth generation, the family, near the southern Italian town of Bari, is dedicated to growing delicious grapes, and they are as imaginative as they were on the first day.
On this sunny afternoon in June, Wil Lemmer stands next to Vito. At SanLucar, Wil is the guy in charge of sourcing new varieties. He selects the most promising fruits, orders test fields with the growers, tastes and evaluates the results. “Wil and I are like researchers on behalf of good taste,” says Vito and laughs. Wil Lemmer: “I am the midwife of new varieties for SanLucar. In the end, it’s a team effort made up of sun, experience and even more passion.”
What seems simple at first, rarely turns out that easy. A lot of patience, investment and years of development work are necessary to create good varieties.