US(CA): Steady second part of the season for grapes

Volumes for the first part of California's table grape season suffered from adverse weather, but the second half of the season has been stable. Supplies are good, and, as a result, the market is steady.

“Volume is slightly off from previous seasons, but the second half of the deal has been similar to last year,” said John Pandol of Pandol Brothers. “With better plastics, better management and better late varieties, there's less of a disruption from fall rains.” There's about 15 percent of the crop left to harvest and about 25 percent of the crop yet to ship. There used to be more of a lag between what gets harvested and what gets shipped, but the industry has done a better job of shipping fresher grapes, explained Pandol.

More seasonality
“What we've seen over the years has been more seasonality,” said Pandol. “We're eating slightly more grapes than we ate 10 years ago, but we're eating them more in the fall and less in the off-season. Movement can go up to four million boxes a week during the season and only about two-and-a-half million boxes when not in season. Freshness is part of that.” With supplies steady during this latter part of the season, prices have also been stable. On October 29, prices for a 19-pound container of Crimson seedless grapes from Kern and San Joaquin Valley districts were between $18.95 and $22.95 and prices for a container of Red Globes were between $16.95 and $20.95.

“We tend to see a split in prices toward the end of the season,” said Pandol. “Some varieties will get scarce and go for upwards of $30.00, and some get left behind. I expect to see a widening in prices.”

Peruvian imports could drop prices on Red Globes
Peruvian imports are also on the market, and Pandol believes that if Peruvian exporters send too much fruit, it will crush prices.

“Our concern is that they will send lots of Red Globes,” said Pandol. “I think their traditional markets are not pulling as much as they once did, so they're thinking of the U.S.” The amount of fruit needed to flood the market wouldn't even need to be all that much.

“Seeded grapes are a niche item in the U.S., so it's not a lot of fruit that would make it too much,” said Pandol. “Prices could get as low as two dollars or they could stay in the twenties. It just depends on how much fruit is sent.”

For more information:
John Pandol
Pandol Brothers
+1 661 725 3145

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