South American Imports are Earlier with Concerns over California Quality

South American Imports are Earlier with Concerns over California Quality

California table grape shipments for the remainder of the season will definitely be lighter and some observers are expressing concerns about late season quality. The California season in winding down, while South America is ramping up.

The California Table Grape Commission claims there should be good volume through early January.

While fewer grapes remain in storage compared to a year ago, plenty of fruit remains to be shipped. Typically around 46 percent of California grapes are shipped after October 1st.

The USDA reports through early November truck shipments of central California grapes totaled 55.2 million 19-pound cartons, up slightly from 54.6 million cartons the same time a year ago.

The government report indicates 13.2 million cartons of grapes remained in cold storage through October, down 28 percent from 18.1 million cartons in storage at the same time a year ago, but similar to 13.56 million two years ago. 

While some later varieties of grapes were still being picked, the harvest is expected to be over in early December.

At 115.6 million 19-pound cartons, the 2018 California grape crop was the second largest on record. The 2019 grape crop, estimated at 109 million cartons, is in line with the four years before the 2018 crop.

The commission says about 2 million cartons of California grapes are expected to be shipped in January.

Very light volumes of imported Peruvian grapes were reported in the U.S. in early November and those arrivals will increase toward the year’s end.


Capespan North America of Gloucester N.J. reports U.S. imports of South American grapes is on an earlier track this season due to a small crop in California. The company already is receiving Peruvian grapes at American ports.

Peruvian white seedless grapes are particularly in big demand because of concerns over California white seedless quality. Peruvian red seedless grapes will be arriving within days, as Capesapan feels California red will be finished by mid-December.

Pandol Bros. of Delano, CA has finished its California grape harvest and recalls last season when a lot of fruit was picked. However, much of it then was either not sold in the normal time and beyond or was outright dumped.

While Pando is predicting a 15 percent increase in total Peruvian grape exports this season, the company is less certain about Chilean grape volume. Some forecasts are above last season’s 83 million cartons, while others are below it.

Chile is also focusing increasingly on the mid- to late-section of the import season, with Peru focusing the earlier stages.

Vanguard Direct of Bakersfield, CA also was expecting an earlier than normal end to the California season.

Vanguard Direct will begin its Peruvian import season with arrivals the last week of December or early January.