When one looks at the development and growth of Chilean fruit exports to the U.S. market, there’s one name that is always mentioned, and that’s John Giumarra Jr. The work done by John Jr. and Giumarra Vineyards Corp. opened the door for Chilean exporters and contributed significantly to Chile’s position as the main supplier of fruits from the southern hemisphere to the U.S.
In the early 1980s, John Giumarra Jr. and his cousins saw in Chile an opportunity to complement their offering of fruits, especially table grapes. Giumarra forged numerous relationships in Chile and signed its first marketing contract with Frucentro SA in Chile, a relationship that is still intact. Many other agreements followed and partnerships were developed with Chilean companies such as David Del Curto SA and many others.
Those who knew John Jr. emphasize that he became one of the largest importers of Chilean grapes in the U.S. by opening distribution channels for Chilean fruit in the U.S. market, but that was just the beginning. He increased the flow of blueberries to the U.S. through a joint venture between the Giumarra Cos. and Vital Berry Marketing. Other partnerships followed as Giumarra expanded into a broad range of Chilean imports.
When ASOEX and our partner companies reflect on John Jr., we remember him as a visionary and an astute businessman; a positive and cheerful person, full of energy. When he visited Chile, people were drawn to him due to his charismatic and approachable personality. He forged not only strong partnerships, but also friendships. He will be missed.
On behalf of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Exporters Association, I would like to express our deepest condolences to his family, friends and the Giumarra team.
Ronald Bown, chairman of the board
Chilean Fresh Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX)
John Giumarra Jr. was ‘champion’ for California grape industry