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Partnering with Progress: A Q&A With Randy Giumarra, Vice President of Sales, Giumarra Vineyards

Partnering with Progress: A Q&A With Randy Giumarra, Vice President of Sales, Giumarra Vineyards

When you partner with Giumarra Vineyards, you partner with a legacy.

As a company whose roots and vision stretch back for 100 years, this dedicated and passionate family-owned and operated enterprise sits at the pinnacle of both distinguished pedigree and precision. Spanning vineyards from the southern end of California’s San Joaquin Valley to Ducor in Tulare County, the company cultivates its program in some of the richest land the Golden State has to offer. Harnessing a breeding program that creates and licenses the popular ARRA line of proprietary grape varieties, these are currently being planted and grown around the world.

So, what does a company that has replaced thousands of acres and nearly all of its legacy varieties do next? It keeps the wheel of innovation turning and the standard high. And, this season, organics are the name of the game.

With such an esteemed program built to support and elevate the needs of retail programs across the globe, it is no wonder that the company is in a constant state of evolution. Now that California’s table grape season has arrived, Randy Giumarra, Vice President of Sales, sits back in his chair for a brief moment—because, truly, a moment is all that he has—to open a window into the company’s organic program, which continues to create a buzz throughout buy-side conversations.


Jordan Okumura: I often feel like you are up before sunrise, and I have always felt kin to you in that sense. So, while we are kicking off this conversation early, it’s not necessarily our early. So, let’s get to it! Randy, it has been impressive to watch your company continue to innovate across flavor, variety development, growing practices, and so much more in just the 10 years that I have been in this industry. As we look to this June through November and the company’s California table grape season, can you share with me what we can expect on the organic front?

Randy Giumarra: 2022 is an exciting time for our program. Giumarra Vineyards has four more varieties coming into production for our organic repertoire this season, in addition to the program we already offer. Two of our most popular and flavorful ARRA options are the Sugar Drop® and Passion Fire®, which will be strong demand drivers at retail, as well as our Sweet Scarlet and Sweet Globe™.

As we all know, today’s consumer has a discerning palate, and being able to both listen to their needs and anticipate the changing demographics of today’s shoppers is what will help retailers flourish in this category.

In addition to nearly all of these organic grapes being new varieties, Giumarra will be the only grower in California offering the Passion Fire and Sugar Drop as organic options. This gets the season started with a much sweeter, better-flavored organic white seedless than a Sugraone and a larger red seedless than the Flame. This will keep the consumers coming back for more!

 


JO: Giumarra Vineyards is one of the top standard-setting companies in terms of research and development in my book, with a strong commitment to quality and customer service. Turning to organics, what is driving the company’s organic message this year?

RG: Growth and precision. The Giumarra family is proud to be increasing our volume with a very expansive line of organic grapes that are almost exclusively new and/or proprietary varieties, which now includes the Sugar Drop and Passion Fire starting this month in July.

We have made it a focus in recent years to offer customers the best new varieties conventionally, and now in GrapeKing Organic, too.

The GrapeKing brand carries both a reputation for premium quality fruit and is a brand that consumers are drawn to, so we hope this allows retailers to set a very high bar for their table grape destinations, both conventional and organic. Consumers want options, and if they are invested in their health and well-being, they have shown that they’re willing to pay more for those options. As we all have to make our food dollars stretch, it’s great to see consumers reaching for something delicious, healthy, and nutritious (whether conventionally or organically grown) instead of processed, sugary foods for their families.


“We know that the best grapes we develop and/or plant offer a mix of tradition and innovation, and we hope to bring the Giumarra Vineyards’ differentiation to market through the multitude of flavors and textures we offer in our program.”

Randy Giumarra, Vice President of Sales, Giumarra Vineyards


JO: Looking at these four new organic varieties, can you share with me the highlights of each variety and the characteristics that retailers will need to know in order to best understand the value of each grape?

RG: We will start with the incredible Sugar Drop and Passion Fire. These two varieties kick off in early July. The Sugar Drop is an elongated white seedless variety with a snappy texture—it eats just fantastic! The Passion Fire offers up a jumbo red seedless option with a meaty texture and sweet flavor.

Looking to the exceptional Sweet Scarlet, these grapes are crunchy, and they have a delicious muscat flavor with beautiful bright pink-red coloring. Not only are they visually unique, but the flavor is a rare find as well. The Sweet Globe variety is grown to have a creamy finish with a crisp, sweet flavor—all in a nice large berry.

We know that the best grapes we develop and/or plant offer a mix of tradition and innovation, and we hope to bring the Giumarra Vineyards’ differentiation to market through the multitude of flavors and textures we offer in our program.

 


JO: I imagine, with such a wealth of flavor and eating attributes, these new organic varieties will be dressed to impress as well. What packaging and merchandising options will you be offering this season?

RG: Giumarra Vineyards will be offering our organic varieties in our newly designed GrapeKing Organic pouch bags and 2 lb clamshells that my cousin Mimi Corsaro, Vice President of Marketing and Director of Export Sales, designed to coordinate with our colorful branded packaging for our conventional varieties. They’re bright, eye-catching, fun, and look great on the shelf. These will all be packed in the new GrapeKing Organic craft box, which is as eco-friendly as it looks!

As one of the most competitive categories in the fresh produce department today, table grapes have been a prime arena for both growth and innovation. Add “grown in California” to that selling point, and you have a retail program with endless possibilities—but, only with the right partner.

As Randy tells me, you team up with more than just a product when you break bread with a vendor—you partner with their values, vision, and strategic mission.

In other words, you partner with a past, a present, and a future.

A legacy. 

Partnering with Progress: A Q&A With Randy Giumarra, Vice President of Sales, Giumarra Vineyards