(May 20) BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Sun World International Inc. and several major Australian grape producers have reached an agreement in a long-standing dispute surrounding Sun World’s proprietary sugraone grape variety.

In Australia the sugraone grape is called menindee. In the U.S., it carries the Sun World private Superior Seedless trademark.

The recent agreement enables key Australian producers and marketers, including Table Grape Growers of Australia Pty. Ltd., Melbourne; Golden Mile Orchards, Mundubbera; Back ‘O Bourke Fruit Pty. Ltd. and Darling Farms Pty. Ltd., both of Bourke; and DH & KJ Agg, Barmera, to grow and distribute sugraone grapes and to use Sun World’s Superior Seedless trademark.

It also enables the growers to gain access to many other Sun World seedless table grape varieties.

While financial terms were not disclosed, the agreement recognizes that the Australian sugraone grapevines are Sun World’s property and that they cannot be reproduced.

Sun World has agreed to establish minimum fruit quality specifications to be adhered to by all licensees, ensuring consistent supplies and quality from all major grape-producing regions of Australia. Sun World also has agreed to provide technical production support for the variety that has proved difficult to grow.

Sun World will also provide the growers with access to Superior Seedless brand marketing and promotional materials.

“We’re looking forward to working with Sun World in enhancing our sugraone grape production,” said Mark Leng, chief executive officer of Table Grape Growers of Australia. Leng said the Sun World seedless grape variety development program shows great promise for Table Grape Growers of Australia and its customers.

David Marguleas, senior vice president of Sun World, said he is encouraged by the new alliances formed with prominent Australian grape producers and marketers. Marguleas noted that the sugraone grape has long been one of the top seedless grape varieties in Australia and throughout the world.

Sun World recently opened an office in Bathurst, Australia, to manage its fruit licensing business in Australia and New Zealand. Bob Wickson, an Australian horticulturist, has been appointed as regional manager for the office.

The business will operate as Sun World Australasia.