Update on Peruvian season

California grapes expected to fill gap from Northern Peru

It has been a very challenging season for Northern Peru’s grape growers. The repercussions of last year’s weather events have turned this year into a most challenging season. “As harvest continues, it has become painfully apparent every week that production estimates are being adjusted downward. Many people are expecting Northern Peru to be down approximately 50 percent or more,” says Dirk Winkelmann with Vanguard. Winkelmann estimates white Seedless varieties to be down 60 to 70 percent while Red Seedless varieties are estimated to be down 50 to 60 percent and Red Globes about 50 to 55 percent.

Higher storage levels in California
Despite the substantial drop in Peru’s grape production, US grape availability is sufficient as there are still considerable volumes of US grapes in the market. According to a USDA Grape Cold Storage report from Nov. 3, 2017, storage levels are at 13.6 million boxes compared to 12.6 million the same time last year. “Our California grape growing friends and partners have had their own challenges with weather events this past season,” mentioned Winkelmann. “However, there are some terrific late varieties from California and we would expect for the most part they will fill in ‘the gap’ from the Northern Peru production.”

Vanguard's Chief Farming Officer, Kevin Andrew, assessing process in one of the Sweet Celebration blocks in Peru last week.

Red Globes down across Peru
Vanguard’s grape production is located near Ica, in Southern Peru. Harvest is running seven to ten days behind normal in that region, but it is underway. In terms of production levels, the Ica region fared better than its Northern counterparts. However, there will be shortages from Ica as well compared to years past. Ica will not be able to cover any deficits from the North as the two areas do not overlap significantly in their harvest. They are effectively two distinct production areas. Looking at Peru as a whole, Ica will be producing more seedless this season than last due to new plantings, but it will not be proportionate to the drop in seedless volume in the north. When it comes to Red Globes, both Ica and the north will be down – in the north due to the weather issues and in Ica due to the removal of Red Globe vines as part of a replanting process into seedless.

Aggressive replanting program
“We are looking forward to an outstanding crop of our new IP seedless varieties this season from our Challapampa ranches in Ica,” shared Winkelmann. “In addition, we have acquired additional hectares near our current ranches and are in the midst of an aggressive planting program as we speak – heavy to proprietary seedless varieties. Our initial plantings are focused on IP varieties from IFG – Sweet Celebration®, Jack’s Salute®, Sweet Globe®, Sugar Crisp®, Sweet Favors®, and Sweet Sapphire®. We are also planting Ivory® Sheegene 21 and trialing a number of additional promising varieties from the best breeding programs around the world.” Vanguard continues to look for assets to add to its Peruvian portfolio.

Sweet Celebrations showing a “pop” of brilliant color

Well positioned for 2018/2019
“The quality and condition of the crop we have hanging on our vines is superb, and we expect to have a very good season this year,” continued Winkelmann. “We have implemented an in-house Total Quality Assurance team that is focused on all the details necessary to deliver outstanding, flavorful, and high-quality fruit to our customers around the world.” With the aggressive replanting of its ranches this year, Vanguard expects overall production volume to be down somewhat this season. “However, we will be extraordinarily well positioned for the 2018/19 season.” 

For more information:
Dirk Winkelmann
The Vanguard International Group
Tel: 425-427-6113

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