Mexico: Sonora table grape forecast down on previous two seasons

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Mexico: Sonora table grape forecast down on previous two seasons

The Mexican table grape forecast from the key Sonora production region has been pegged slightly lower this season year-on-year, with supplies set to peak in June.

The Sonora Grape Growers Association (AALPUM) has forecast 21.5 million 18 lb. (8.2kg) cartons to be packed and shipped between early May and mid-July, 2021. This estimate is 2 percent less than the 2020 harvest and 11 percent less than the 2019 crop.

AALPUM association president Marcos Camou, AALPUM general manager Juan Laborin and FPAA grape division chairman John Pandol and presented the
crop estimate via Zoom on March 30.

The largest volume is white seedless varieties at 44 percent, followed by red seedless varieties at 43 percent, then black seedless varieties at 7 percent and then ‘other’ 6 percent, which includes Red Globes and specialty varieties like Cotton Candy.

All grape categories are forecast to see small year-on-year drops in 2021, except for Mid Greens, which are set to see a minor rise.

Sonora is the only growing area supplying North America that produces a majority of green seedless. Between 3 and 5 percent of the grape crop is certified organic.

The Mexican table grape harvest season is subdivided into four sections: Preseason, which will be 10 percent of everything prior to May 15 including other early areas; Early Season, which is 16 of volumes from May 16-30; Peak Season, the majority of the crop with 53 percent from May 31 – June 20; and Late Season, 21 percent post-June 21 into July.

Shipping will continue from Nogales and other forward distribution points will continue until mid-July. A promotion calendar with load dates ex-Nogales were included in the presentation.

The Mexican table grape forecast had a new look that reflects changes in the industry. Not long ago 80% of the volume was three varieties. Today 40% is over two dozen newer proprietary varieties. “To give a rundown of individual varieties, each with beginning and end of harvest date for each growing area is no longer a useful description of the crop,” said FPAA grape division chairman John Pandol.

“The purpose of giving an estimate is so our supply chain partners; operational service providers, government agencies and commercial partners can prepare."

AALPUM general manager Juan Laborin addressed rumors of a light Mexican table grape crop circulating in the industry.

“There are reports of vineyards or parts of vineyards with very low yield prospects. While those cases exist, it is far from the norm and not representative of the majority of vineyards," he said.

"Over the years AALPUM has developed a robust methodology to create the crop estimate. The numbers that come out of the statistical model at the end of March predict within +/- 5% the final crop.”

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