The Italian grapes supply has been severely affected by the weather in that country. In Southern Italy and Sicily it was cold and wet in May. "This had a major impact on the grapes' fruit set. As a result, there is now 30 to 40% less supply," says Lucien de Wit of LuBa Fresh in the Netherlands.
"This decreased supply, in itself, is not a huge obstacle. There are still grapes available. The problem lies in the bunch formation. White pitted grapes, in particular, are mostly small. The black and red grapes also have this issue. I estimate that only 15-20% of the volume consists of top trade, with large grapes."
"This causes enormous price differences in the market. These differences confuse clients. For example, at the moment, you can buy Victoria grapes for €1-€2 per kg. Fortunately, the grapes are of good quality. Demand is also increasing again, after a few calm weeks," says the importer.
"Around this time last year, there was also terrible weather in Italy. The season was over by the beginning of October already. Luckily, up to now, the weather in Italy has been excellent."
"The season has, however, been considerably delayed. I usually always start with grapes from Puglia on around 20 July. But, this is now already three or four weeks late. All this as a result of the weather in May," continues Lucien.
According to him, seedless grapes are becoming increasingly important in Italy. "In the past, things were going well for pitted red, black, and white grapes. However, in recent years, seedless varieties have continued to develop. This is also due to the emergence of new varieties," he concludes.