Later end to Mexican grape season

From Fresh Plaza | 6 July 2023

Overview of table grapes from Mexico in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on July 6, 2023. 

The Mexican grape season looks to be finishing much differently than it started. While both Mexico and Coachella, California are still harvesting, their seasons saw a difficult start thanks to a delayed harvest and the maturity of fruit due to cool temperatures and ample rains. “That pushed the volume of the Mexican crop into June and put a lot of strain on the front end being short. Now we have the hurdle of a lot of varieties that are bottlenecked because that maturity is all coming on at once,” says Mike Asdoorian of DLJ Produce

It was projected that 20-21 million cases were coming from Mexico this season and to date, 17.5 million cases have crossed into the U.S. so far. “There are still a few million cases left and possibly more if the original projections were accurate,” says Asdoorian, adding that the Mexican season is running longer largely due to that late start. “There’ll still be good supplies this week and until the week of July 10. We’re looking at a transition the week of July 17th to Central California. It’s hard to tell how that’s going to go. It depends on movement currently and retailers are receptive. I see promotions but I wonder if it’s enough momentum to get Mexico into good shape before California starts.”

grape volumes by history 3

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

Working to promote

Demand for grapes does look good and stable right now though May was tough trying to get fruit into the system given the delayed start. “It made planning for June a bit of a concern. If you’re coming out of a significant shortage, planning three to four weeks ahead and putting ads out can be daunting. However retailers are acting as quickly as possible to promote fruit now,” says Asdoorian.

Looking ahead, while temperatures have since warmed up, as recently as 14 days ago California was still unseasonably cold which makes it challenging to bring on grape maturity. Like Mexico and Coachella, Central California looks to be about 10-14 days late and harvest is anticipated to start around July 14-15. “The crop should be good this year and in line with the historical average or just above,” says Asdoorian. “We think there’ll be plenty of fruit to promote and I see pricing just above historical average because of costs. If everything goes well weather-wise, it should extend pretty late this year too.”

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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