The Oppenheimer Group is marketing a Brazilian grower’s first Rainforest Alliance certified grape crop through the end of the year.
Vancouver-British Columbia-based Oppenheimer has marketed red globes, festivals, thompsons and other varieties for Fazendas Labrunier since 2008. Grapes with the certification started shipping in the fall.
Rainforest Alliance’s sustainability criteria include land use and treatment of employees.
Labrunier set aside 2,000 acres for wildlife reserves, according to a news release. It also reduced water use and introduced organic fertilizers.
The grower also sponsors the training of teachers in Brazil’s Petrolina region, where grapes are produced. In partnership with the Brazilian nonprofit Institute for Teaching Quality, the program benefits about 10,000 students.
The company also provides jobs for disabled workers and school supplies for employees’ children.
“The quality of this fruit, combined with the Rainforest Alliance seal, makes it a very appealing promotional item for the holidays,” Bill Poulos, Oppenheimer’s director of import grapes, said in the release. “The Rainforest Alliance certification may be particularly resonant with shoppers who are thinking a little more about taking care of the world around them during this reflective time of year.”
Brazilian grapes were affected by a dry growing season. Volume was down but quality is excellent, according to Poulos.
Labrunier is testing more than 80 grape varieties developed with breeders from the U.S., Europe, Israel and South Africa.
“Some of the new varieties have already presented outstanding results and will be available in the market soon,” Fernando Olic, sales executive, said in the release.