Seventy years ago, two cousins acquired their first parcel of land in the Delano region of California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley.
With the same passion for growing grapes as their ancestors before them in Croatia, Martin and Vincent Zaninovich began in Delano what has become a 70-year legacy of quality and consistency in the U.S. and beyond.
Today, Jasmine Vineyards has risen to be among the most respected leaders in the California table grape industry, producing varieties for both domestic and export consumption.
The growth of Jasmine Vineyards, which fittingly aligns with the growers’ milestone anniversary, coincides with the industry’s desire to provide variety and interest. The Delano-based cold storage plant is in the midst of an expansion that will allow them to keep pace with these demands, while staying at the forefront of innovation.
“We have to keep up with all the new and varied choices. It changes rapidly, and it can be challenging to keep up with consumer preferences. Retailers have helped make grapes a staple for consumers, and with that, we’ve been able to increase consumption by offering new varieties” says Jon P. Zaninovich, President. The son of the late Martin J. Zaninovich, Jon understands that consumer and retailer needs must be listened to and addressed.
“When my father, and even my grandfather, were growing grapes, they could grow the same variety for 50 years. Not so today. In order to increase consumption, offering new varieties is one way to satisfy both consumer and retail needs and help meet and exceed marketplace expectations. Today, even newish varieties are being replaced by a stronger product within a much shorter varietal lifecycle. This speaks to our industry’s sophisticated R&D. It’s a nod to mandatory innovation and investment required in all aspects of the business world today, to which agriculture is not immune.”
Accommodating retailer and consumer demand for grape variety are not the only challenges to which Jasmine Vineyards responds. Ever-increasing interest and awareness in food safety is also a top priority. The public desires information and producers today are well-served if they can manage to accommodate that interest.
“The foodie movement of the last 10 years combined with the advent of the internet means more and more people have direct access to people like me – food producers,” he says. “Consumers want to know where their food comes from and to know if it’s safe. They want a direct line to me and others like me.”
So, there’s no better time for Jasmine Vineyards to relaunch the 70-year-old brand with new packaging, website and marketing campaign, all designed to connect consumers directly with Jasmine Vineyards. Beginning this spring, Jasmine Vineyards will, via online and social media, offer consumers opportunities to get to know the brand and products while also interacting with the grower.
The Zaninovich family hopes that consumers will not only see how Jasmine Vineyards is continually looking for ways to improve, but also how it maintains a tradition of quality.
“Grapes are a commodity that are hand-picked. That takes a lot of labor, and it’s not something on which we’re willing to compromise. There are things that we could do differently and likely ship a lot more than we do, but we know our customers and what they expect from us.
“We’re not in rush to increase production at the sacrifice of quality. We take pride in what we do, and we know how fortunate we are to be out in the fields working alongside those who have been with us for 30-plus years. This is our life, it’s what our family has always known.
“All of us that make up Jasmine Vineyards ownership, cousins George, Andy, Damian, Matthew and I, were raised in this business. A commitment to producing a good product was ingrained in us from the time we all started working here, all at a very young age. We take that responsibility passed down to us from Martin and Visko extremely seriously. We’re honored to share that with consumers.”
There’s little doubt, with that passion and the dedication of a family like the Zaninovichs, Jasmine Vineyards will continue to thrive for another 70 years.