Smooth table grape transition from Sonora to San Joaquin Valley expected

From Fresh Plaza | 27 June 2024

Overview of grapes from California in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on June 25, 2024.

As he was watching Croatia play against Italy in the UEFA Europe League, John Pandol with Pandol Brothers made time to provide an update on Mexico’s Sonora grape season. The region is the largest producer of table grapes in Mexico and is expected to export a total of 22 million boxes this season. By the end of this week, 20.5 million boxes are expected to have crossed the border with the U.S. “The bulk of the season will be done by this coming weekend with the last few shipments tailing into July,” according to Sergio Lugo, General director of AALPUM.

Compared to last year, Sonora’s season started off quite different. Last year, the pipeline was empty, but when Sonora started up this year, it hit a full market. “I was in Toronto last week and there were still some Chilean table grapes available at retail,” Pandol commented. “While it is not unbelievable, it is quite unusual.” New grape varieties tend to be later and as a result, Chile may be more present in the market in June now compared to five years ago.

grape volumes by origin 2

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

San Joaquin Valley starting up

Looking ahead, a good transition is expected from Sonora/Coachella Valley to California’s main grape growing region, the San Joaquin Valley. Right now, Sonora/Coachella are about 80 percent done and that number will be closer to 90 percent by the weekend. At the same time, the San Joaquin Valley may harvest box number 1 as early as late this week. By the week of July 8, most early growers will be starting harvest.

Grapes from Sonora cross the border with the U.S. in Nogales, AZ and the estimated inventory in Nogales currently is three to four million boxes, compared to six million boxes last year. The stock in Nogales combined with the grapes that will still be harvested in Sonora and Coachella is worth about three weeks of supply. “This amount of volume should permit an orderly transition to San Joaquin Valley grapes,” finished Pandol.

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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