Short trip to the fruity organic grapes in ItalyWe are in the middle of the season for organic grapes from Italy. A good time for a trip to Apulia situated at the ‘heel’ of the Italian ‘boot'. All year round there the farmers of the Italian cooperative ABA Mediterranea grow a diverse range of organic fruits for those at home and abroad. The cooperative is made up of 20 family businesses. From June until late October they supply organic grapes under the brand ‘ABA Bio’ to BioTropic.
Our colleagues Michela De Leonardis (Italian office) and Laura Dominguez (French office) were recently there. Together with the managing directors of ABA, Vincenzo Santoro and Saverio Prencipe, they visited some of the member businesses.
Due to growing both early and late varieties of grape, the seasonal availability of grapes at ABA is widely diverse. The white variety ‘Vittoria’ for example is a clear summer grape– available from June until August. The red, seedless ‘Crimson’ on the other hand enriches the table during late summer and autumn. Michela and Laura are convinced of the quality of the fruit as they stroll through the vines and visit the pack station. Dominguez, our buyer and seller in France explains: 'I've noticed that the vines in Italy grow higher than the ones I know in France. The producers explained that they like to let the grapevines grow taller so that the harvest workers can reach the grapes more easily. Generally speaking I have learnt a lot about the subject of ‘grapes’ on this short trip. In addition I’ve even improved my Italian’, laughs Dominguez.
Growing organic grapes requires the producer to have a high level of expertise in this area, as grapes that have imperfections are often left unsold. Grapes however are particularly prone to fungal diseases. Using various measures, the producer can deliver tasty, good looking grapes without using forbidden chemical synthetic agents during the organic growing process.
BioTropic only works together with selected producers in Italy. The focus is on transparency and quality assurance. This requires good cooperation from both parties. We have been working together with the producers from ABA Mediterranea for around 12 years.
Text: Visnja Malesic
Images: BioTropic GmbH
Version: September 2017