Early to mid-May is typically a time when organic table grapes are in short supply, and that will be the case again this year. Currently, supplies of organic grapes from Peru and the Mexican state of Jalisco are available, but they are few and far between.
Volume will start to pick up from both California’s Coachella Valley and the state of Sonora in Mexico the week of May 17, with strong volumes projected by mid-May, and promotable supplies from the Memorial Day weekend through June. There should be organic table grapes from both regions for at least a week or two into July, creating a seamless transition to the organic production from the San Joaquin Valley.
John Harley, Sales Manager, Anthony Vineyards
John Harley, sales manager for Anthony Vineyards, told OPN the company’s organic production from Coachella will start between May 15 and 20 and will be in good volume by the end of the month for both red and greens varieties. Early maturing vineyards appear to be a bit lighter in volume this year, but Anthony’s early organic acreage has increased, so the company's volume should be on par with last season from the start. “Throughout June, we should have good volume of organic grapes in all three colors. By June 10, I see ample supplies,” Harley said.
There should be organic table grapes from both regions for at least a week or two into July, creating a seamless transition to the organic production from the San Joaquin Valley.
Flame Seedless are still the prime organic red variety in Coachella, he said, but the company has several different organic green and black varieties from that desert region. The green lineup includes Sugraones, Valley Pearls, Ivory, and Sweet Globes. Among the black varieties the Bakersfield, CA company will market during the two-month Coachella deal are Black Beauty, Sweet Sapphire, and Sweet Bond.
Anthony's Flame Seedless grapes
Jared Lane, vice president of sales and marketing for Grapeman Farms, also headquartered in Bakersfield, agreed that the organic production in May will be a bit light. Grapeman Farms sources from Sonora in northern Mexico. “It looks like we are going to see demand [exceeding supply] during May,” Lane said, adding that there is currently a bit of a gap on organic grapes.
“Throughout June, we should have good volume of organic grapes in all three colors. By June 10, I see ample supplies.” -John Harley
Organic volume, however, will be very good once Mexican production gets going. As much as 20 percent of Mexico’s 20 million cartons this season will be organic, Lane estimates.
“I think if everything that is grown organically is marketed as such, we could see up to 4 million cartons [of organic grape production] from Mexico … at least 3-3.5 million,” he said.
Jared Lane, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Grapeman Farms
Grapeman Farms is expected to have about 400,000 organic grape cartons this year. “We should have promotable volume loading during the week of May 24, and we will be in the deal through July 10 to the 15,” Lane said.
“It looks like we are going to see demand [exceeds supply] during May.” -Jared Lane
Grapeman is also adding to its variety list each year with new production of the sweeter proprietary varieties from several of the private breeding programs. “We will have a lot of the newer green varieties,” he said. “But the reds are still predominantly Flame Seedless.”
Michael DuPuis, Public Relations Manager, Divine Flavor
Michael DuPuis, public relations manager for Divine Flavor, headquartered in Nogales, said his firm is the largest grower of organic grapes in the Mexican deal with hectarage stretching throughout the state of Sonora from Guaymas to Caborca—and including Hermosillo.
Approximately 70 percent of Divine Flavor’s acreage is certified organic, with the other 30 percent grown using organic practices. “We are growing the finest grapes possible with the most sustainable method available on all of our land. Growing organically is a big part of our philosophy,” DuPuis said.
Divine Flavor organic grapes
Divine Flavor is anticipating starting with its green organic volume on May 24, which DuPuis said is about a week later than usual. “The organic reds will start 8-10 days later,” he said. “The quality is excellent, and our team has done an excellent job forming those perfect grape bunches.”
The month of June will offer many opportunities for promoting organic grapes DuPuis said. In fact, Divine is touting some of its branded grape varieties, including its black “Jellyberries” and its red “Gummyberries.” DuPuis said the company is a big proponent of marketing the new sweet varieties with their varietal names, and many retailers are doing that, he said.
DuPuis anticipates Divine Flavor having organic table grapes from Mexico into the second week of July.