Tim started making crosses in California in 1996, but before then he took a year out to travel the world looking for potential parent varieties from countries as far as Australia and Azerbaijan. Tim assembled a collection of some 200 diverse parent varieties. Each one was chosen on the basis of certain unique characteristics that Tim and SNFL wanted to see in the final new varieties. Attributes such as flavor, crispness, and berry size were the main priorities.

Tim made over 300000 crosses over the next few years and generated over 30000 seedling vines which had to be planted out for detailed evaluation in test fields in California, Arizona and at SNFL farms in Spain. By 2005 this work was beginning to show results and the first new seedless varieties from the Sheehan programme were being planted around the world. These plantings include some of the first varieties to emerge from the programme such as Timpson, Magenta, Timco and Allison, and later introductions such as Kelly, Krissy, Ivory, Great Green and Melody.


In 2002, Tim and SNFL took the decision to start breeding in Australia where laboratory facilities were available which would enable ‘seedless x seedless’ crosses to be made. This greatly increases the proportion of seedless progeny from the programme and is therefore much more efficient as fewer seedlings have to undergo detailed evaluation only to be discarded after 3 years because they are seeded.

So far, the “Sheehan Australia” programme has produced about 70 advanced selections which are currently undergoing detailed testing and evaluation in trial fields around the world. The first small scale commercial plantings from the Australian collection will be in 2017.


Grapes Genesis was set up in 2015 under the direction of experienced grape breeder Dr Juan Carreño, assisted by molecular biologist Dr Ivan Carreño.

The key priority for the new Grapes Genesis breeding programme, is to improve on the work already done in the past, in order to create yet more great new varieties.  This will not only delight consumers, but also provide them with additional health benefits, such as higher antioxidant and vitamin content. For the growers who will be planting these new varieties, the focus will be on producing varieties that have a naturally high level of disease resistance, hence reducing or eliminating the need for some spray applications.

Like Tim Sheehan did back in 1996, the Carreño team have started by further expanding the parental gene pool. They have acquired many new parent lines, sometimes from wild grapevine species, which have the required genes for disease resistance and the health benefits, that we are looking for. Their challenge now is to breed these traits into new varieties that consumers will love.


Breeding program - ITUM
Breeding program - EMBRAPA
Breeding program - CSIRO
Breeding program - ARC-LNR