Strong table grape crop expected from Mexico

From The Packer | 6 April 2022

Overview of table grapes from Mexico in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on April 01, 2022. 

U.S. imports of Mexican table grapes should start as early as mid-April this year, with volume picking up significantly in May and continuing into June. Growers anticipate good quality and increased volume.

Mexican growers are expected to produce about 25.5 million 18-pound boxes of table grapes this season for shipment to the U.S., an increase from last year’s packout of about 21.3 million boxes.

“Our vineyards in Jalisco begin in April, which will be great for having fresh, flavorful crop at a time where South America is starting to wind down,” said Carlos Bon, vice president of sales for Divine Flavor LLC, Nogales, Ariz. “But things for us will really kick in around the third and fourth weeks of May.”

grape volumes by history 16

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

Los Angeles-based Pacific Trellis Fruit/Dulcinea Farms plans to begin harvest in Mexico the week of May 9, which is a bit earlier than normal, said Howard Nager, director of marketing and business development.

“Our harvest will start in the Pesqueira and La Costa area of Hermosillo and transition into Caborca to finish the season around the second week of July,” he said.

Volume at Pacific Trellis Fruit should be approximately 2 million boxes, up slightly from last year.

“Weather has been good, and we expect very good sizing and color this season,” Nager said.

grape prices by size as

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

Growing conditions have been good, but the weather was a bit cooler than normal in Mexico, said Rob Anderholt, West Coast divisional sales manager for Seald Sweet International/Greenyard, Vero Beach, Fla. As a result, growth has been on the slow side, but there was no fruit damage. Cool weather was expected to continue until mid- to late April. Seald Sweet’s harvest should start sometime between May 10 and May 15.

“It will be slow, and volume should be light during the month of May until the last seven days of the month,” he said.

Anderholt predicted promotable volume by Memorial Day, May 30, with peak volume hitting in June.

Miguel Suarez, managing partner at Mas Melons & Grapes LLC, Rio Rico, Ariz., visited the Caborca and Hermosillo growing regions earlier this year.

“From what I saw, I don’t think there is going to be any significant volume out of Sonora before May 15 or May 18, which is later than the dates when we used to start,” he said.

He attributed the later start to some of the new grape varieties that are gaining popularity.

“The new varieties, by nature, are later varieties,” he said. “I really think that the whole grape industry in North America and South America will see a change in dates.”

Ten years ago, the Sonora grape season would start the first week of May, Suarez said.

Bon of Divine Flavor said the company is putting a lot of resources into the late part of its Sonora program in Caborca.

“We have new vineyards in this area where we will start the third season, which generally means the first ‘big crop,’” he said. “It’s very exciting for us to see this project finally coming on because it means we will have strong proprietary varieties late into July.”

For the most part, growing conditions have been good in Mexico, said Suarez of Mas Melons & Grapes, despite some cool weather during the early stages of the growth process.

“I don’t think that will make a big difference because the cool weather came very early,” he said. “If there is no other frost or rain, (the crop) is going to be good.”

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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