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IFG (International Fruit Genetics) has recently celebrated their 20th anniversary as one of the world’s leading breeders of various grapes and cherry varieties. To mark the special occasion, IFG released several new varieties during the year, including the Torch™ grape variety.

Dr. Chris Owens, lead plant breeder at IFG explains that IFG has routinely named their new table grape varieties as part of the Sweet or Candy series of varieties. However, as they continue to innovate and create new flavour-packed grape varieties, they aim to create innovative and fun names to compliment the quality and the wonderful eating experience which consumers can expect from these grape varieties.

Dr. Owens also explained that the name Torch™ was chosen as it makes a reference to Flame Seedless, another early red seedless table grape variety that Torch™ will compete with directly. He added that at times it can be challenging to come up with a name for the varieties as it is necessary for IFG to register their new trademarks in various countries around the world.

The Torch™ grape variety is an early red variety which is more productive than its existing competition, Flame Seedless. It colours more easily even in warmer regions, does not require ethephon chemical sprays to assist the colour, ripens earlier, produces slightly bigger berries and does not have problems with astringency or splitting of berries as with what sometimes occurs with Flame Seedless. The berries can be enlarged with a gibberellic acid spray application.

Torch™ has a good eating quality which is juicy with crisp textures and a good acid to sugar balance. It has a subtle muscat flavour, especially when it becomes very sweet, and the flavour is arguably better than that of Flame Seedless.

This variety will be in good demand in world regions where early production is important – South Africa fits this profile.

Dr. Owens is excited about the future prospects of the new Torch™ variety. He concluded as follow: “Torch™ is the first early red variety with a neutral flavour that IFG is launching. It is easy to grow and has the potential to do well in the market. I am very optimistic about the future of this variety.”

There are no commercial vineyards of Torch planted in South Africa yet as the variety is currently still in the evaluation phase locally. We look forward to the commercialization of this exciting new variety!

By Jacques Burger


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