Grapes in Ecuador: How an idea becomes fruit

Grapes in Ecuador: How an idea becomes fruit

With 300 days a year of cloudy skies and heavy clay soils – growing grapes in picturesque Ecuador is a real challenge! Or a pioneering achievement. But the tropical warmth is good for the fruit and our experience with grapes all over the world is vast. Because we at SanLucar are constantly evaluating  new varieties of fruit, testing new growing areas and improving existing varieties. So what does it look like in our “grape testing laboratory”, in Ecuador?

At the beginning, we want to find out the best possible growing technique. In other words, which cultivation best suits the country, the region, the grape variety and so on. At the same time, we have to find an answer to the rainy season in Ecuador. Or to the fruit eating bats in the region. To prevent them from snacking on our grapes, we protect the fruit with paper bags. “We are like jugglers who maintain many balls in the air at the same time,” says Wil Lemmer, Varieties Manager at SanLucar. “We  plant, evaluate, discard. A continuous cycle to find the very best solution.”
Since in agriculture everything depends on the rhythm of the plants, we have to conduct many experiments simultaneously. So it will take at least three years to get validated data. But this long lead time pays off. In South Africa we have done a very similar thing with our grapes and now many delicious grapes come from the south of Africa.

Which grape variety harmonizes with the special climate? How many varieties should we cultivate at all? In Ecuador, we work with only one breeding program. But no matter where the journey will lead – we always stand for the most delicious fruit. This means that if the grapes from Ecuador do not taste great, we would give up the project. To prevent this from happening, we test, taste and continue to work on the realization of our dream of – Grapes from Ecuador.

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