Sunview uses past experiences to create a bold future
At Sunview Marketing International, past experiences are paving the road to a bright future.
Now operated by a third generation of family farmers, Delano, Calif.-based Sunview is a company that is involved in every aspect of its operation, a business that both family members and employees consider to be a way of life that they live and breathe every single day of the year.
“Over a century in the making, Sunview Marketing was built upon the knowledge of generations,” says Mitch Wetzel, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Born into us through our ancestors, we are connected to our heritage through these vines. Now operated by third-generation brothers Marko, Andrew and Morgan Zaninovich, the fourth generation is being trained to continue the Sunview family farming tradition. Grape growing is not just our business but our passion and way of life.”
While the family runs the operation that focuses on growing grapes and sun-dried raisins, everyone involved realizes that it takes an entire village to get the job of growing grapes and raisins done correctly. Wetzel says that this includes the many families who work alongside the ownership team each day. “We care about our people, and our staff works with us year-round,” he notes. “Because our staff stays with us long-term, Sunview has one of the industry’s most experienced and qualified teams. It is the people of Sunview who help us to maintain our industry-leading quality and customer service.”
The company’s sun-dried raisins are made from larger, juicier and more flavorful premium fresh table grapes. And, while most raisin grapes are dried on the ground on paper trays, Sunview’s raisins are hand-harvested into small bins and never touch the dirt. The grapes are dried at Sunview’s own dehydration facility, where the entire process is controlled. Finally, raisins are sorted by laser and by hand to ensure that only the perfect raisins are selected.
More than 30 years ago, Sunview established one of the country’s first fully organic table grape operations, applying modern innovation to traditional techniques. The company is now one of the most globally-established organic grape growers with season-long availability. “We have a complete selection of organic red, green, and black grapes and organic sun-dried raisins,” Wetzel says. “As consumer demand for organic products continues to skyrocket, it is a source of pride to be a forerunner in the growing organic movement.”
Learning from the past has taught company officials to cast their eyes on the future. Wetzel says that innovation and directed growth are guiding principles at Sunview. From post-harvest equipment to cold-storage facilities, he notes that the operation represents the latest innovations in equipment and processes. “We look for opportunities to advance our growth every day so that we can continue to offer our customers the industry’s best products and services,” he said.
Learning from the past is also playing a large role in dealing with issues that might impact the company and the industry in the years to come. For example, Wetzel says that modern sustainable agriculture techniques are rooted in traditional farming practices, how the company founders farmed, and the foundation for how Sunview continues to farm today. The company’s regenerative techniques help nourish the soil, conserve water and reduce the need for chemicals. “These practices grow the best grapes and preserve the health of the land for our childrens’ tomorrow,” he said. “By taking the long-term health of the land into consideration, Sunview remains at the forefront of sustainable agriculture technology.”
Wetzel notes that Sunview should be the consumers’ single source for table grape and sun-dried raisins. “One hundred percent of Sunview branded grapes are grown on our land by our family,” he says. “We oversee every phase of production, from seedling to harvest to delivery, allowing us to achieve the highest and most reliable product quality. You can count on Sunview for all your red, green and black table grape needs.”
In the end, company officials want their customers and consumers to understand that Sunview has been and will be different from other California grape growers.
“We are a family business that is involved in every aspect of growing grapes and has been for generations,” Wetzel explains.
“We feel strongly that the difference is noticeable not only to our customers but also consumers of our grapes all over the world. When you are passionate about your business and look forward to it each and every day don’t you want to tell more people about it?”