Only limited quantities of Italian grapes are exported to the UK, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Germany seems uninterested. Additionally, there are quality problems regarding the seedless coloured grapes.
Claudio Romano is the marketing manager of the Romaneuro business, which produces grapes. Also, the company has been dealing with the fruit and vegetable import-export to the most important European markets.
“We are forced to produce limited quantities because there is a widespread fog/humidity issue that spoils the grape. If the produce gets wet during November, it takes a very short time to rot."
“At this moment, this is our biggest problem for grapes. However, this is especially bad for the coloured grapes. In this situation, it is easier to manage the white grape whereas it is harder to spot the problem immediately thus causing very unpleasant consequences”
According to Claudio, the majority of the great grape exporters are ending their season, “It is a shame because the taste is really good. But the produce is 'faulty'. I have heard of many supermarket chains that removed the grape from their product lists. They did that because they cannot guarantee the produce preservability”.
Finally, the manager points out that Moldova could become a potential competitor to Italy, in the next years, “I thought Moldova worked together with Russia and Poland, for instance. However, the Moldovan grape is also marketed in the UK, which greatly appreciates it. Moldova has new production areas, lower prices and more captivating packaging. This is a very dangerous mix for our grape. I would like to say that this is just a flash in the pan, but it is not”.
And with regard to the future? “A network of organisations is necessary. This is not easy, because it would mean to correctly place the grape on the market. Therefore, it is crucial to organise properly the incoming produce and act accordingly, before the climate will be worse and before the customer will start looking at other producers”.