Argentine grape producers hold fire on E.U. exports
The country experienced several frosts around the middle of the year which delayed ripening and the development of optimal sugar levels.
Foreign Trade Chamber manager Roberto Gutiérrez, said there was a gentleman's agreement between producers not to send fruit with less than 14 degrees brix of sugar content.
"In previous seasons the grapes were cut with 12 or 13 degrees brix and the product was very green when it arrived in the market. The consumer ends up leaving the first imports because the second stage of shipments of grapes are sweeter and less acidic," he was quoted as saying.
Gutiérrez added the E.U.'s economic problems were another contributing factor to a delay in exports.
"We have said to producers we will start by buying a percentage of their production and the rest will be dependent on the response of the consumer," he was quoted as saying.
Exports should have begun in late November, but will now start closer to the middle of December with the first shipments 40% lower than the previous year.
Gutiérrez said international prices would stay at the agreed price of 1.40 euros per kilo (US$0.86 per lb) of fresh grapes.