Changes in international grape dynamics
Table grape imports for the United States are overwhelmingly sourced from the Americas. Of course California is the primary summertime supplier for the North American market.
Thus, the produce industry tends to focus on the industry within the Americas.
Tom “TW” Wilson, sales manager of The Giumarra Cos., discussed with FreshFruitPortal.com other table grape trade dynamics around the world. Wilson, whose grape experience goes back 43 years, works out of Long Beach, except for a few months in Nogales during the Mexican grape deal.
While China’s produce trade has declined since Covid, China used to consume 12-15% of the grapes that were produced in California, Wilson says 40% of U.S. grape production traditionally has been exported, with Canada and Mexico being the largest export markets.
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At the same time, the primary markets for Mexican grape growers are, in order, the U.S., Canada, the national Mexican market, and then some to Central America and South America. Small volumes of Mexican grapes go to Japan, the Philippines, and even less to China, South Korea, and the Middle East. Mexico currently does not export as much offshore as its U.S. counterparts, he adds.
Depending on the year, India, South Africa, Peru and Chile export to Europe and the U.K. At this time, Indian grapes are not nearly as good as these competitors, but they’re far cheaper, selling for one-half or a third the cost of Mexican grapes that are exported to Europe and the U.K. “Most of the production in India comes from growers producing one to five hectares. But India still produces a lot of grapes.”
China also produces a lot of grapes, which are mostly consumed in the country. China harvests grapes basically at the same time as California. Australia exports counter-seasonal grapes to China. The Australian grape harvest timeframe is same as South America, running from November to May.
Giumarra markets grapes from Chile, California, Peru, Mexico.