Richgrove, CA-based Vincent B. Zaninovich & Sons will have its first commercial crop this year of a proprietary green seedless grape variety from International Fruit Genetics in Bakersfield, CA, called Sweet Sunshine.
“It is our second season” with the Sweet Sunshine “but our first real crop” said John Zaninovich, a salesman with the company. “We did pick some last year, but this is the first fully developed crop that we will harvest.” It is a variety he feels has great promise and one to which the company has made a substantial commitment.
A mid-season grape, the Sweet Sunshine will be ready for harvest around Aug. 1, he said. “We have a significant volume” coming into production, sufficient to “be able to take care of retail business as well as export business.”
Among the characteristics that VBZ likes about Sweet Sunshine, first in importance is “the way it eats,” Mr. Zaninovich said. “It is a sweet grape, consistently sweet,” and it is crisp. “It crunches like an apple, and it is pretty refreshing to eat.”
In addition, he said, “it gets tremendous size. Size is not an issue with that variety.”
At VBZ, “we made a decision not to try to grow every variety that is released,” Mr. Zaninovich said. “We pick the one we like that fits [a particular] time of the season, whether it be early, mid or late. We are interested in the way grapes eat. We want a great-eating grape first. That is what the customer wants, and that is what we go with.”
VBZ has also made a commitment to Scarlet Royal as a mid-season red seedless grape. Scarlet Royal and Sweet Sunshine are “a pretty good combination to have,” he said.
Among the other grapes offered by VBZ are Flame seedless, Thompson seedless, Unknown black seedless, Summer Royal black seedless, Crimson seedless, Autumn Royal black seedless, Autumn King green seedless and the seeded Red Globes.
But “our biggest development this year,” he said, “is the first crop of Sweet Sunshine that we are really looking forward to.”
Sweet Sunshine will be packed in the company’s “VBZ” label.
With regard to pack styles, “we are able to put up any pack that the industry is expecting at the moment,” Mr. Zaninovich said.
That includes the new stand-up bag “that seems to be catching on,” as well as clamshells and regular bags.