Recently, I had the opportunity to travel down to Chile and learn about their export fruit industry. I’m very thankful to have been given this opportunity; I definitely learned a lot about the many different kinds of fruit that they grow there. One of the most fascinating parts of the trip was learning about grapes. Did you know Chile is the largest grape producer in the world? And they export 90% of what they grow. This year they are projected to ship an incredible 109 million cases! As of the middle of March, they have shipped 55 million cases so there are still plenty of grapes to be picked by early May. Once the grapes are picked, it takes 14 days on a refrigerated ship to reach the United States. Amazingly, they make it here in great shape for all of us to enjoy in Wisconsin. The way that the grapes are grown in Chile was beautiful and completely unexpected at the same time. In California, grapes are grown in rows where the vines basically make walls and you pick from the sides. I was expecting the growing system to be similar in Chile, but instead they use a more European style of growing where the grapes grow on a trellis system overhead. Very interesting! This is just a small portion of what I saw and learned on my trip and I’m sure that I will be sharing more information about Chile in my future blog posts. Bite into some juicy Chilean grapes from Festival and enjoy!
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