Merbein growers Janice and Simon Chivers have taken home the top award for producing this season’s best dried grapes.
The winners of Dried Fruits Australia’s 2022 Dried Fruit Quality Awards were announced at Mildura Field Days on Saturday, with awards presented for the best sultanas, raisins, currants, Sunmuscat and Sunglo as well as an overall winner.
The quality of fruit submitted for judging this year was of a high standard despite the difficulties faced by growers this season, according to DFA chair Mark King.
“2022 will go down as one of the hardest seasons, but due to growers changing to rain tolerant varieties – which now make up more than 50 per cent of dried grapes produced – the industry will come through,” Mr King said.
“Many growers are also following DFA’s newly updated best practice guides, which assist with decision making throughout the key phases of dried grape production.”
Dried grape grower and DFA board member Stephen Bennett, who judged this year’s entries, said the newer sultana-type varieties Sunglo and Sunmuscat held up well this season, while Carina currants were also of a very high quality.
“Overall, the standard of this year’s entries was excellent considering the adverse weather conditions the industry experienced this year,” Mr Bennett said.
“It demonstrates how far the industry has come in developing production systems that can turn out quality product even in difficult seasons.”
2022 Dried Fruit Quality Awards winners:
• Best sultanas & best dried grapes of the season: Janice and Simon Chivers, Merbein (Sunbeam Foods)
• Best currants: Terry Hunyadi, Birdwoodton (Australian Premium Dried Fruits)
• Best raisins: Angie Panagiotaris, Mildura (Sunbeam Foods)
• Best Sunmuscat: Sam Costantino, Mildura South (Sunbeam Foods)
• Best Sunglo: Stephen and Jinky Nicholls, Coomealla (Sunbeam Foods)