US (CA): Dry weather speeds along grape harvest

Clear skies void of rain for most of this year's California grape harvest made for ideal picking conditions throughout the Golden State. That's partly responsible for this year's harvest, which is likely to match or slightly exceed last year's total volume.

“Weather's been phenomenal,” said Sunlight International's Nick Dulcich. “We didn't get any rain in Delano up until November 21.” Dulcich estimated that growers were able to pack an average of 600,000 boxes of grapes a day, and with about 90 million boxes packed to date, the final total for this season could reach nearly 106 million boxes. Dulcich is also impressed with this year's quality of fruit.

“Quality varies from grower to grower and from shipper to shipper,” he said, “but if I were to put this year's fruit on a scale from one to 10, I'd say this year's grapes are at nine.” In terms of the types of grapes harvested, he noted an uptick in the quantities of Scarlet Royal and Autumn King varieties.

“Those varieties are grower-friendly, and they're also only available in the United States,” said Dulcich. “Scarlet Royal grapes are extra large, they color well and they have a good profile, and Autumn Kings, which are jumbo in size, go into December, so that enables us to have fresh grapes through Christmas.” For the last few weeks of this year's harvest, Dulcich expects most growers will be finishing up their seasons with Autumn King grapes, and he thinks it will cap off a good year for the state's growers.

“We've had huge volumes, and the quality has been very good,” said Dulcich. “We've had real good feedback from everywhere we've shipped.”

For more information:
Nick Dulcich
Sunlight International
+1 661 792 6360

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