“We think safe packaging, such as heat-sealed punnets, will replace bulk packs of grapes,” says Joaquim Praxedes, General Manager at Vale Da Rosa. This is a Portuguese company that specializes in table grapes.
Its primary focus is on Portugal. “Regarding foreign markets, we look with special interest to England, France, The Netherlands, Poland, and China. We think there will be an increased demand from markets that are closer to Portugal.”
In anticipation of this, Vale de Rosa is adjusting its packaging. “We’re improving our sealed packaging. Of course, we prioritize sustainable packaging,” explains Joaquim. They’re also converting their vineyards. “We’re switching out those that currently produce seeded grapes with seedless ones. We’re exploring new varieties too.”
Seedless grapes gaining popularity
More people are eating seedless grapes. That’s another reason for replacing the seedless varieties. “There is a greater demand for new grape varieties too.” This Portuguese company currently offers more than ten seedless grape varieties.
Included are the popular Autumn Royal and its lighter cousin, the Autumn Crisp. In contrast, they have only five seeded varieties - the Cardinal, Vitoria, Italia, Palieri, and Red Globe.
Joaquim says Vale da Rosa’s volume’s increased by between 15 and 20% since last year. “So far, the weather’s been great during the grapes’ growth cycle. There were high temperatures in the early maturation stage.”
“These were preceded by milder temperatures during flowering. There was no unusual precipitation. These favorable conditions are ensuring our grapes have excellent quality.”
“We are, however, facing a time of great uncertainty. There’s, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis. But the changing sales channels can be a challenge. As is the uncertainty regarding new buying habits,” Joaquim concludes.