By Mark Greenberg

US (CA): Table grape harvest now over

Table Grapes:
The California table grape deal is coming to a close with picking now completed and
packing to be soon wound-up. That said, California grapes will remain a factor in the
market longer than had earlier been anticipated. In the mid-autumn, when the
California industry saw the fast pace of sales of its large and healthy grape crop,
prices were boosted across the board in an effort to slow sale and extend the
season. So, while storage volumes on most varieties are down from last season as at
November 30, Autumn Kings, Crimsons and Red Globes will continue to be available
through Christmas and beyond – sharing the market with Brazilian, Peruvian and
Chilean imported grapes.

California Table Grape Storage Volumes
As of 30 November, 2012

Today, California Autumn Kings are selling at US$ 18-24 and Crimsons are at US$ 16-
22. Red Globes are moving at US$ 16-20.

Brazilian Sugarones have been available in the US since October but have arrived in
relatively light volume this season with total shipments well-below expectation. The
shortage in loadings to the US is to some extent the result of lower production but is
also attributable to many growers having shifted production toward satisfying growing domestic demand in Brazil in spite of an exchange rate that has improved substantially over the last twelve months.

Through Week 48, demand for Brazilian Sugarones on the east coast was light as the
market generally remained interested in domestic white seedless grapes that were
widely available at prices in the mid US$ 20’s. Through Week 48, Brazilian grapes
were being quoted at US$ 30-32 but few were moving at those levels. Wholesalers
were pulling fruit in light volume but chains, by an large, have been staying with the
domestic product.

Today, Brazilian Sugarones are being quoted at US$ 28-32 on sluggish movement but
with some expectation that the market will shortly begin to firm up. Peruvian
Sugarones are also available in the market and they are being received with greater
enthusiasm than has met the Brazilian Sugarones. Peruvian white seedless grapes are today being quoted at US$ 32 – 38 with light – but increasing – movement.
Red seedless grapes from Peru (Flames and Crimsons) are in stronger demand than
imported white seedless. California Crimsons are showing traditional pale color and
high-end chain stores are looking for an attractive replacement. Today, on light
arrivals, Peruvian red seedless grapes are selling at US$ 32 – 38, size and variety

Peruvian Red Globes are also available in light volume and are selling in a US$ 24-28
(mostly US$ 26) range. There are US$ 22 Red Globes available.

Chilean grapes will start to arrive in mid-December with the first bulk vessel
scheduled to arrive in Week 51. The first Chilean arrival should see a strong table
grape market with demand for good imported grapes likely to exceed supply. By the
time the first vessel gets here, we expect to see table grape prices in the US$ 32-36
range for Flames, US$ 30-34 for Sugarone and US$ 32-36 for Thompson.

Buoyed by increased demand from their emerging markets in the Far East, Chilean
exporters have set high price expectations for the 2013 season. This, in conjunction
with a persistently strong domestic currency, has caused the Chilean industry to signal a much-diminished inclination to use the US as its market of first-resort. Of course, the US imported table grape market has historically been promotion-driven. But with few promotional opportunities at traditionally low retail prices expected in the early part of the season, grape sale momentum in the US could take time to gather steam as chain stores find alternative products to promote.

Publication date:

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