Hermosillo Grape Growers Association (AALPUM) president Marco Molina announced the estimate of 22 million boxes shipped to the US for the 2019 season. While 22 million is substantially more than the 16.3 million exported to North America in 2018, it similar to the 21 million exported in 2017. The breakdown is 49 percent red seedless, 39 percent green seedless, 5 percent black seedless and 7 percent unspecified. Harvest of promotional volumes would begin week 21 (Week of May 20) and would continue until at least week 26 (Week of June 24). Weekly volumes were not announced, but some private estimates peg weeks 22 through 25 (May 27 through June 22) at 4,000,000 cartons per week. Historically at least 70 percent of the volume is shipped in June and early July.
The annual event was held in March for the first time. The traditional late April date conflicted with Easter and many felt it was time to announce an estimate early enough for the information to be actionable for marketing purposes.
Another first was holding the Mexican Spring Summit in the United States to encourage American sales companies to attend. Caborca Grower Association president Librado Macias stated his group was very happy to see the robust attendance of U.S. marketers, nearly a third of the 250 attendees.
"It is critical for sales planning to have good information on the volume and timing of the grape harvest", said John Pandol, Grape Division Chairman of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, an association of produce importers based in Nogales Arizona. "Retailers fall into two categories. Retailers who have a 52-week plan based mostly on last years sales and retailers who plan 3 to 6 weeks out based mostly on this year’s supply. Now is the time for retailers to either adjust or create plans for the grape season."