Any quietness in the central and southern interior market has been due to the lack of grapes available, not lack of interest. For the few contracts that expired last year and are up for renewal, buyers are eager to renew and, in most cases, quick to offer last year’s contract price as a minimum. Many buyers are also quick to offer on grapes that have come off of contracts with another buyer. This is particularly true for all red grapes, including Zinfandel and Grenache for blush programs. The white grape market in the interior is a little less exciting, with most buyers showing passive interest in generics and mild interest in Chardonnay. The floral market seems to be very warm still, but not smoking hot, like in recent years.

With bunch counts noticeably higher in 2013 (Allied’s average was 38 bunches per vine compared to last year’s 26.), the Thompson seedless market has been relatively quiet. No substantial market activity is expected until later this summer, as the raisin industry needs to decide pricing and valuation strategies. If the price is lowered much at all, bulldozers will fire up this winter. The question that must be answered is whether or not short term buyer gain would justify the long-term supply loss. The crop looks healthy on raisin varieties; the crop will average over 10 tons per acre, based on bunch counts and historical bunch weights. But considering that it is generally the “cheapest” grape out there, growers won’t keep them in the ground if they lose too much on price. Almonds and other alternative crops continue to look better.

Looking to the future,there is optimism. Demand for California wine is outpacing the current supply of California-grown grapes. The demand for fruit produced by quality wine growers is strong, will be healthy for quality-driven wine growers for this harvest, according to Allied President Nat DiBuduo. “Prices are stable and and increasing in some case increasing, and I believe we will see fair prices with multiple-year contracts being offered,” he said.


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