During a webinar, named Panorama for Postseason Table Grapes, which was organized by the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) and others, the latest estimate for rain damaged grapes it volume will be slashed by 35 percent this season.
As of February 10, the estimated number of table grape exports only reached 68 million boxes.
Most affected were grapes in central Chile, which destroyed a good part of the mid-season grape crop.
Fedefruta, Chile’s fruit growers group, reports three out of four of the country’s fruit growers suffered some type of damage from the rains, which totaled as much as three to four inches in some regions.
Fruit that was hit by the rains won’t reach U.S. shores until later in February and March. Congestion at U.S. port has been resulting in distribution delays. Not only is it common for boat transit times from Chile to take up to 3 weeks, but port delays have been adding an additional week or two. (see January 29 report)
Importers reports the rains are resulting in grapes splitting, particularly for the green/white seedless.
Good volumes from Peru may, and possibly better quality, is expected to help lessen the shortfall from Chile.
Little to no effect from the rain is anticipated for the Chilean red crimson seedless grapes, which are in good supply from March to April.
Pandol Bros. Inc. of Delano, CA reports generally there will be a shortage of good whites, while red seedless will be plentiful.
Unifrutti Chile points out there will definitely be fewer shipments to the U.S.
The late January rains were the biggest for that month since 1933.
AFC Global Sourcing of Chile notes the rain was very hard from San Felipe and south, hitting tree fruit, grapes and stone fruit.