The start of the Portuguese grape season has been satisfying, with possibilities to enter new markets, states Susana Ferreira, marketing director of Portuguese grape exporter Vale da Rosa: “The Portuguese grape market is running normally and as expected so far. The seeded grapes season has ended and we are currently in the midst of the seedless varieties, white, black and red varieties. We have had a lot of requests from external markets. New destinations that we are now starting to explore and that could be consolidated in the very near future. In general, as September progresses, demand has increased especially for red grapes.”
One of the new markets Vale da Rosa is entering is in Asia, Ferreira explains. “We are actually sending grapes by plane to Hong Kong. We started this relatively recently and it has gone very well. We are confident that demand will increase and, being a market that prioritizes quality, it has everything to do with Vale da Rosa. The start of the season has been quite calm and without any major surprises. We are beginning to understand this new market in terms of consumer preferences, which are significantly different from the European consumer. With a short transit time, the grape reaches the customer with quality at its peak.”
According to Ferreira, one of the grape varieties seems to do particularly well in Asia: “We are sure that the Asian market has a lot of potential in terms of volume for grapes sent via airplanes. It’s a market that prioritizes quality and we believe that this is just the beginning of a very fruitful partnership. We believe that the Autumn Crisp variety in particular has characteristics that will be highly appreciated in this market.”
As supply could be a bit lower this year, prices are expected to go up, Ferreira says. “Prices have been stable so far, but we believe they could rise in the coming weeks. The scarcity of supply of grapes from other sources may cause prices to increase briefly. We are expanding our customer base, especially with red grapes, of which we have increased our availability. So far, in the 2023 campaign, we have increased export volume by 100%, considerably more than we had anticipated.”
Looking ahead, weather could become a challenge in the future, but Ferreira is certain they’ll have a favorable season this year: “Climate instability is an increasingly worrying issue. From what we believe we know, there have been some problems in certain producing regions, which could lead to an increase in demand for Portuguese grapes. So far, in Alentejo, the Portuguese region where we have all our production, the weather has been clearly favorable to production and the quality of the grapes is perfect. Therefore, we are ready to respond to market demand,” she concludes.
Vale Da Rosa will be exhibiting during Fruit Attraction in Madrid. You can find their booth in Hall 8, stand 8C08.