Family-run Top Brass continues strong table grape program

From The Produce News | 25 July 2023

Overview of table grapes in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on July 24, 2023. 

Top Brass is a fourth-generation family farm that started out with just an immigrant’s dream. Ted Vignolo created this empire and his children’s children continue to watch the business flourish.

Grapes have long been a lifeline for Top Brass, with the farm having started growing its initial 40 acres of table grapes in the San Joaquin Valley in 1962 and increasing production almost yearly over the last six decades.

“We are a grower, packer and shipper of fresh California table grapes,” said April Myers, sales associate and organic sales manager for the Bakersfield, CA-based company. “Being in the produce industry is never easy. You will never have all the perfect variables. It’s how you deal with imperfections along the way that make or break your business.”

And as Top Brass sees more and more corporate farming enter the market, it sees a unique opportunity to do what it does best as a family farm—to continually evolve daily according to what the vines needs dictate. While this type of farming is often more costly, Top Brass is able to produce a more consistent final product than many of its competitors.

Table grapes tend to be a solid performer year after year for Top Brass, and the company expects the same for the 2023 season.

grape volumes by history 5 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

“Crops are delayed this year,” Myers said. “It’s truly a record delay due to a very wet winter and spring. Our grower, John Vignolo, is very meticulous and his passion for his job shows in the quality of our fruit. He puts time, effort, and valuable planning into each variety to ensure the best tasting grape in the industry. Our season this year will begin in mid-July and wrap up in November.”

One of the ways to stay ahead in the table grape industry is to keep track of the latest trends and Top Brass has become experts at this, knowing what to expect from new varieties.

Popular grapes in recent years have included Sweet Scarlet, Allison, Ivory, Great Green, Sweet Globe, Sweet Bond, Gracenote, Candy Crunch, Candy Hearts, Candy Drops and Candy Snaps.

“Consumers are always wanting the next best thing,” Myers said. “The industry is constantly adjusting to the needs and desires of their customer base. Candy varieties are extremely popular right now. High sugar, distinct flavor profile grapes are everywhere now, and we have many of those varieties available for domestic and export sales.”

Top Brass recently added a new sales associate, though one who is very familiar to the company. Brady Dixon is part of the fourth generation to work for the family farm. Dixon is diligently growing his customer base and available to answer any questions. Reach out to Top Brass for more details on availability throughout the season.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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