Sam Costantino, the founder and CEO of Grapeland, has been growing high-quality fruit and vegetables since 1978.
His roots go back to 1964, when his parents Francesco (Frank) and Vittoria Costantino bought their first fruit property, Block 38B, in Robinvale. It is still owned and run by the Costantino family today. Frank was born in Italy and worked as a carpenter until, at the age of 24, he moved to Australia seeking a better life. He arrived in the Port of Melbourne on October 12, 1951. Frank and Vittoria married in 1955 and settled in Robinvale, working together as fruit pickers until they had enough money to purchase their own farm.
Sam was born in 1957, and began helping his father on the 20-acre dried fruit block from a young age. As the years went on, Sam could see big opportunities in the table grape industry. So in August 1977, he bought his own 20-acre dried fruit farm – Block 14B– and began growing table grapes. Sam produced his first box of table grapes in the season of 1978, and Grapeland was born.
Sam married his wife Mary in 1981 and they had five children together – Frank, Joseph, Christopher, Michael and Vittoria. As the family grew, so did the need for more land, and they began buying neighbouring farms and turning them into table grape vineyards. They also bought a property with asparagus in 1998 and have been growing it ever since.
From humble beginnings as a 20-acre fruit block, Grapeland has grown into a robust 1000-acre farm. Forty years on, Sam and Mary’s four sons have joined them in the family business, and together they are taking Grapeland from strength to strength.