Posts Tagged “California grapes”
Some winters Chilean grape imports are flooding U.S. markets the first half of January, but pretty much hit a stone wall this year as we entered 2019. That is now changing as shipments of California grapes are in big volume declines as the season concludes.
There was still a lot of California fruit in U.S. markets during December — a whopping 55 percent more California grapes in cold storage in mid-December 2018 vs. mid-December 2017. As a result, Chile has been shipping less to North America and more to Asia.
Through mid December 10,575 tons of Chilean grapes were shipped to North America, compared to 29,000 at the same time last year. Through the end of December, 71 percent of all Chilean grape exports went to North America.
Chilean grape exports started slowly, but have picked up gradually this year. Overall, Chile reports good volumes of grapes for this season and will be exporting product through the current season.
Total global exports of Chilean grapes through the end of December reached 15,419 tons, which was a “significant decline” from the 31,000 tons of a year earlier, according to the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association.
Chile stepped up shipments to the U.S. by early January, however, with the remaining California inventory having dissipated, Brux said, dropping to 1.5 million cases at the end of the year, according to a recent market report.
“Now that January has arrived and much of the California inventory has cleared, we’ll start to see increased volumes, along with big retail promotions, for Chilean grapes in North America,” she said.
As of the first week in January, harvesting was primarily in the Coquimbo region (IV), with the Valparaiso (V) region starting, Brux said.
The largest shipment of Chilean winter fruit so far this season arrived at the Port of Wilmington Dec. 27. The shipment contained more than 676,000 boxes of fresh table grapes, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums, Brux said. The third bulk reefer was scheduled to arrive the second week of January.
Grape volume from the Copiapó region likely will exceed 10 million boxes this season. The largest volumes from that region were to be harvested from December through mid-January, with late varieties finishing by the first week in March.
North America is the largest market for Chilean grapes, taking in 47% of all Chilean grape exports in 2017-18, Brux said.
Bill Poulos, grape category director for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group, said he expects volumes this year to match year-earlier figures.
“We anticipate red and green grape volumes to be fairly similar to last year, as fortunately the (Nov. 12) hailstorm largely spared Chile’s grape-growing regions,” he said. “With new varieties coming into North America, we expect higher overall volumes in April and May than in the past. This steady supply picture is emerging despite the decline in the flame variety in Northern Chile.”
New varieties will have noticeably higher volumes, said Fernando Soberanes, director of operations for South America with Los Angeles-based Giumarra Cos.
“We expect to see increased production of proprietary grape varieties out of Chile as they continue to gain popularity in the market,” he said. “In general, volumes of traditional grape varieties are declining out of Chile in favor of newer varieties. The decline is heavier toward the early-season varieties than the late varieties, so we will see smaller volumes coming in at the onset of the season and heavier volumes toward the end.”
Spring grape loadings out of Sonora, Mexico, and California’s Coachella Valley both got off to an early start this year and are finishing earlier than usual. Early Arvin District grape shipments have made for a smooth transition from Mexico and Coachella into the San Joaquin Valley.
At this point, it looks like the San Joaquin Valley will be shipping into February 2015 as the harvest spreads northward.
Loading opportunities for California grapes continues to become spread out over a longer period of time as new grape varieties are developed, which extend the season. It started in Coachella Valley this year on April 28. It has just finished.
2013 California fresh grape shipments exceeded expectations and came in at a record 116.2 million 19-pound boxes. The 2014 crop is officially estimated at 116.5 million boxes, which, if realized, would just edge out last year’s record.
One of the nice aspects of hauling California grapes, is the growers have been successfully producing quality fruit that makes for good deliveries. This results in fewer claims and rejected loads at destination.
San Joquin Valley stone fruit, berries and grapes – grossing about $8500 to New York City.
Sweet corn loadings are originating from New York state, Delaware, Virginia, Michigan, Colorado and even from Canada. Don’t expect any barn busting volume on corn. Like many produce items this year, cool weather, rain and late planting have adversely affected volume, if not quality in some instances.
Watermelon shipments have followed a similar shipping path to corn. Watermelon volume has been lower than normal since July. For example, shipments have been off as much as 30 percent from Indiana, but has since improved some.
There also should be moderate shipments for Labor Day of watermelons from Missouri’s bootheal and parts of North Carolina. West Texas has light watermelons shipments in July, but have rebound with better volume for Labor Day.
As about any time of the year, California will be providing the best loading opportunities since it accounts for about 50 percent of the nation’s produce shipments. Salinas Valley vegetables are moving in moderate to good volume, plus the San Joaquin Valley has its seasonal mix of veggies, stone fruit, melons and grapes.
During the 2012 season, California harvested 100.1 million 19-pound box equivalents of table grapes. The estimate for this season, if holds, will mean another year for record grape shipments, with 106.9 million boxes predicted.
Bootheal of Missouri watermelons – grossing about $1800 to Atlanta.
North Carolina watermelson – $3000 to New York City.