From 60 hectares in 1991 to over 10,000 hectares today

From Fresh Plaza | 14 April 2022

Overview of table grapes from Mexico in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on April 14, 2022. 

What started as a 60-hectare project of table grapes in 1991 has turned into one of the largest agricultural companies in Mexico. With more than 11 different farms and over 10,000 hectares of growing land throughout Sonora, in addition to new projects in Jalisco and Baja, Mexico, Grupo Alta is celebrating 30-years of business, marking a major milestone for the farm company.

Soon after the company begun, the vision was clear: it wanted to grow fresh, best tasting products for consumers.

When the company was founded by Enrique Camou Mendoza, Carlos Bon Echavarria and Alan Ricardo Aguirre Ibarra, they knew they had the opportunity to be pioneers due to the success of their first farm, La Cuesta, which then produced Flame and Perlette table grapes. Although it took roughly 12 years and navigating through challenges, the ground was established.

Social responsibility

In 1992, after Grupo Alta had become more established, the company principals knew if they wanted to grow the best fruits and vegetables, they would need to swiftly create solid social programs within the organization–programs that focused on hands-on training for cultivation, labor compliance, comfortable working conditions for the workers and so forth. This led to the company becoming one the first growers in Mexico to be Fair Trade certified, a social compliance standard highly recognized worldwide amongst the industry.

“Social responsibility has and always will be the most important area for Grupo Alta,” said Alan Aguirre, president and CEO of Grupo Alta. “Our farmers, collaborators and staff are the heart of the company, and this is one the contributing factors of our 30-year company achievement in producing fresh and healthy produce full of flavor produced in an organic and sustainable manner.”

Prior to earning its Fair Trade certification, Grupo Alta always kept its priorities focused on social responsibility. The company initiated a social program, Foundation Alta, which was created internally around 1995, slightly before the Fair Trade movement began in Germany around 1997. It was in 2005 when the Foundation Alta wheels started moving (literally), and the company started providing a variety of amenities such as mobile clinics that go from farm to farm offering farmers medical services, dental work and vision care.

Although, the main principles, aside from medical/dental options, focus on the well-being and social development of employees and collaborators at each farm. For Foundation Alta, the key is building self-esteem so each person feels proud and confident in their work, exceeding the norm in Mexican culture. It was these principles which created a ‘Disney-like’ environment and kept work collaborators returning each growing season.


In the mid-1990s, Grupo Alta began investing in organic production and became the first organic producer Mexico. At the time, and before organics were a trend in U.S. retail, the company knew if it wanted longevity and stability, it would also need to focus on what is being restored to the plants and soils rather than only relying on what the plants produced for them. Since then, Grupo Alta continues to be the leading supplier of Mexican table grapes for U.S. markets.

grape volumes by origin 16

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

After years of success supplying U.S. retailers and certain regions of Asia, England and Latin America, Grupo Alta wanted to create a bigger identity representing its core philosophy of quality and flavor. It was in 2007 when this identity came to life with the birth of its brand, Divine Flavor, who represents the grower and other farm companies across Mexico and South America. Now, Divine Flavor acts as the company’s marketing arm and distribution center in Nogales, AZ.

Shortly after Divine Flavor was established, Grupo Alta began growing multiple grape varieties such as Cotton Candy, Jellyberries (a purple concord grape), Gummyberries (an exclusive, premium red seedless) and other high-premium green seedless varieties. After years of being an established grape producer, Grupo Alta had the experience to grow these varieties to help differentiate Divine Flavor as unique brand. In addition to helping contribute to Divine Flavor’s product line, Grupo Alta began producing other products such as tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelons.

Grupo Alta’s experience in the grape growing industry has given it the opportunity to exclusively participate in private and governmental grape breeding programs which greatly complimented its vineyards by growing newer and sweeter grape varieties.

To help grow the organic product selection for Divine Flavor, Grupo Alta joined forces with other farm ventures to create organic greenhouses in Baja, Mexico (known as Alta C1 Organics) using Alta technologies and infrastructure, which had been successful in the founding ranches of Sonora. From this, the company Viva Organica was formed and is now the lead specialty organic grower for Divine Flavor, with additional locations in Culiacan and Sayula, Mexico.

Over the past 30 years, Grupo Alta has set an example as a successful agriculture company in today’s industry. Its achievements have led to the production of millions of pounds of produce since its first shipment in 1991, doing so in a responsible, sustainable and organic manner.

“It is a major accomplishment to reach 30 years in this industry and we are proud of each person, staff member, supplier and customer who helped us get this point,” said Aguirre. “Our company was built from family and is filled with inspiration from all of them.”

“Grupo Alta stands for passion, loyalty, solidarity, respect and social/environmental responsibility. As long as we are a company, it will be our mission to produce with excellence and give customers and their consumers a first-class experience with our products.”

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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