While grape harvest has already started in Northern Peru, harvest for the South/Central region is still more than two months away. “Vanguard Peru’s ranches are situated in the Villacuri/Ica region which traditionally starts harvest in November,” says Dirk Winkelmann, Chief Business Development Officer at Vanguard. He expects to begin harvesting the earliest green seedless blocks between the second and third week of November and the latest green blocks in the last weeks of March.”
"Essentially, we cover the entire late December through April market window with an exciting array of all new high-quality great-eating varieties.” Vanguard’s production will tie in perfectly with the finish of the crop in Northern Peru and go all the way through the start of the Mexican crop.
1,000 hectares in full production
The Peruvian grape season looks promising with total crop currently forecast to be between 53-55 million cartons, of which Red Globes is still the largest single variety produced with an expected 18 million cartons for the coming season. Green and red seedless varieties are approximately equal with 16 and 17 million cartons respectively. Black seedless should account for about 2.5 million boxes. “Growing conditions have been ideal to-date and vines are healthy with excellent bud break,” shared Winkelmann. “All of our roughly 1,000 hectares of grapes - with the exception of a newly planted 50-hectare block and a first year 40-hectare block – will be in full production.
100% patented seedless varieties
“We are very different from the majority of the growers/packers in the Ica region as 100 percent of our production is with patented seedless grape varieties. They have been carefully selected and pruned to arrive in the market from the middle of December through the middle of April,” Winkelmann continued. In the coming season, Vanguard Peru is expected to be the largest grower/packer/exporter of patented seedless grape varieties in Peru and specifically in the Ica region. “Our current production estimates are for 3.2 million cartons (8.2kg equivalent) of which we will have 1.5 million each of green and red seedless and 200k of black seedless.”
Peru’s production of new varieties is limited
The development of new varieties plays a crucial role in Peru’s success. This past season (2019/2020), new varieties accounted for only 38 percent of the total Peruvian grape crop. “Our overall profile is geared toward growing 100 percent new varieties that have proven to be winners in terms of appearance, eating quality, and driving global consumer demand,” Winkelmann said.
Vanguard’s grape portfolio consists of green seedless (Ivory-Sheegene 21, Sweet Globe™ , Sugar Crisp™, and AUTUMNCRISP®), red seedless (Icon Firestar ™, Sweet Celebration ™ , Jack’s Salute ™, and Allison®), and black seedless (MIDNIGHTBEAUTY®, Sweet Favors™ , and ADORA ®). In addition, the company has added a new niche red seedless variety to their line-up, Candy Snaps ™. “The selection of these varieties and their timing will allow us to provide a steady flow of green seedless and red seedless throughout the season. Our black seedless varieties will be targeted for early and late season market arrivals.”
Vanguard Peru’s grapes will be shipped across the globe. “While we expect a substantial portion of our production to go to the United States and Canada, we also have significant programs scheduled into Asia (Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand), Mexico, and Latin America. We will also begin a small program into Europe this year as a result of rapidly growing demand for our new varieties.”