February means table grapes from Chile are harvesting. At the heart of Chile’s grape production is Santa Elena, a grower of Divine Flavor International, but also a partner of the produce brand which harvests grapes in Chile from December to March. Overseeing the majority of Santa Elena’s production is part owner, Gonzalo Tocornal.
In 2013, Tocornal crossed paths with Divine Flavor/Grupo Alta’s Carlos Bon at a grape field day in South Africa. One variety that caught Bon’s eye was Muscat Beauty, a specialty grape owned by Santa Elena. It was during this trip that both Bon and Tocornal would get to know one another and not long after, they created an international partnership.
At the heart of Chile’s grape production is Santa Elena, a grower of Divine Flavor International, but also a partner of the produce brand which harvests grapes in Chile from December to March.
After visiting the Santa Elena farms in Chile, Bon saw that Tocornal considers every single detail in producing table grapes--- everything from the exact number of berries per bunch/per variety, but also how many grape bunches can be on the vine without compromising the integrity of the fruit.
“There’s a purpose to every decision Gonzalo makes during pre-production, production and post-harvesting. Not only does he know how to grow flavorful grapes, but he also grows a piece of finished fruit durable enough to withstand the supply chain to other countries,” said Bon.
Born in Santiago, Tocornal spent his childhood growing up on the farms alongside his father. There, he learned a variety of farm practices and later, he would study agricultural engineering/agronomy at the University of Santiago. His career path with Santa Elena began in 1998.
Divine Flavor and Santa Elena start their seventh import program together this year. From left to right: Gonzalo Tocornal, Carlos Bon and Gonzalo Merry.
Today, Santa Elena is owned by Tocornal and managed by him. Francisco Alessandri is the general manager, Francisco Amar oversees production, and Gonzalo Merry manages the commercial areas.
“There’s a lot of hard work and investment to grow table grapes,” said Tocornal. “It is important to work with those who understand the effort that goes into this business.”
Divine Flavor and Santa Elena start their seventh import program together this year. The company also has partnerships with Unifrutti Group in Chile as well as Ecosac and Campo Del Sur in Peru. Both Chile and Peru serve as important grape-growing regions until Divine Flavor’s grape programs start in Mexico in late spring.
The Chilean season is in full steam until April with supplies lasting until mid-late May. Grape offerings include varieties such as Sable Seedless, Sweet Celebration, Scarlotta, Muscat Beauty, Autumn Crisp, Cotton Candy, Candy Hearts, Candy Snaps/Candy Dreams, among others.
For more information:
Tel: +1 (520) 281-8328