(UPDATED COVERAGE, March 13) Sun World has named Rudy Heras category director of Mexican grapes and peppers.

Heras, who’s been at the Bakersfield, Calif.-based company for three years, will maintain his role as a sales key account executive.

He has more than 25 years of experience in the produce industry, including domestic and export table grape sales. Before joining Sun World, Heras worked in sales for Sun Pacific.

“As Mexico becomes a larger part of our supply strategy on grapes and peppers, we felt it was necessary to bring a regional focus to the category director structure,” senior vice president of sales and marketing Gordon Robertson said in an e-mail. “Additionally, we will have Sun World representatives from quality control and sales on the ground in Nogales, where product is loading to ensure we are meeting all of our customers’ needs.”

Other category directors include Rick Paul for grapes in the Coachella and San Joaquin valleys; Gene Coughlin for peppers in Coachella, San Joaquin and Oxnard; and Ryan Debuskey for southern hemisphere table grapes.

Sun World’s Mexico grape volume will be about 600,000 cartons this year, said Natalie Erlendson, marketing manager. The company’s Midnight Beauty variety is expected to be up 53% as plantings reach maturity. Sun World also ships Superior Seedless and flame seedless out of Mexico.

The company is now shipping blocky bell peppers in 11-pound units; elongated Le Rouge Royale peppers at 15 and 25 pounds; and sweet mini peppers in 1- and 2-pound bags. Sun World also offers a value pepper bin, a 2-foot promotional bin.