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Greece, Turkey and Spain put grapes under pressure

It's a peculiar grapes season, not only from the point of view of the weather. Prices are low in a few Eastern European chains due to competition from Greece. Turkey and Spain also caused a few problems.

"At the moment, (late July) most of the grapes available is seeded, just like the Victoria variety in Puglia. The ripening of some grapes was hindered by mildew. The produce remained green with a low sugar level, which is no enough for retail," explains Claudio Romano (in the photo), sales manager for Romaneuro, a company located in Bari that produces table grapes and started exporting fruit and vegetables to the leading European markets in 2000. 

"Although produce in Sicily is ready one month earlier than in Puglia, sugar level remained low. The season had started well, so people thought there would be more produce available."

Romano also stressed that, even in those cases when the produce had the right characteristics, some distribution chains especially in Eastern Europe continued to advance absurd pretences with little left to do having paid the fixed costs. The trend is negative in the rest of Europe as well.

According to the sales manager, the low prices offered by retailers were strictly related to the Greek produce. "In Greece, Victoria quotations are very competitive. In a few days' time, the first Turkish Sultana grapes will become available - seedless and very sweet - followed by Spanish seedless produce. And just think that, up until last week (mid July), Spain used to procure grapes from Puglia because the season was late."

Things were not going better overseas. "If prices are not certain, it's not worth to make the produce face 20-25 days of transit time. The risk is too high."

As regards red grapes, there was no produce left after the last arrivals of Red Globe from overseas. "Performance was good as, while white grapes sold at €1.10, red grapes reached €1.50."

"The last part of the Victoria campaign could be more profitable, as average European consumers tend to prefer it to the Italia variety. In addition, quality is better towards the end of August."

Claudio Romano together with his son Leon.

Bad weather could change things
"Unfortunately the hailstorm that hit us last week (late July) spared us, but a few areas were compromised, so there could be a lack of produce on the European market."

Romaneuro Srl
Via Gramsci, 163
70042 Mola di Bari (BA)
Tel.: (+39) 080 4770821
Fax: (+39) 080 4778042

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