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Low price levels in Swiss wholesale

'Prices of Italian grapes 30 percent lower than last year'

The Italian grape season is currently in full swing. The main growing areas of Sicily and Apulia are currently producing large quantities, due to the high temperatures of the summer, and the quality varies. Nevertheless, the difficult weather conditions of this year's campaign lead problems with their shelf life. The goods must be sold quickly, before they can no longer be marketed. "Compared to last year, the grapes are about 30 percent below the price levels at the time," says a Zurich wholesaler about the current market situation.

Sugar stains
About two months ago, the Italian grape campaign started, some two weeks earlier than usual. The so-called Black Pearl table grapes ran their course a week ago and currently predominantly seedless varieties and table grapes of the Uva Italia variety are in the market. Because of the hot summer and low water supplies, fruit quality is sometimes less than stellar. ''A large part of the produce has so-called sugar stains, which indicates a sweet taste. From a purely optical point of view, of course, that's a disadvantage.''

Early varieties
The situation in the Swiss wholesale sector is still the same: about 60 percent of the market is made up of light grapes, while blue table grapes account for about 40 percent of the market. An important tendency regarding Italian table grapes is that there are more early varieties, so the harvest starts earlier and earlier. Usually, the shelf life of the goods, however, is no problem: ''With today's storage technology, you can still offer these grapes easily until December or January. The main season of the Italia grapes runs from September to mid-November.''

Even after many years and great investments in other growing areas in Europe, the Italians are still front runners of European grape cultivation. ''Spain has been trying for many years, but can not yet compete with Italian cultivation.'' The competition from other European countries like Turkey, Greece and Morocco just plays a minor role within Swiss wholesale.

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