The recent heatwaves in many grape producing countries have had knock on effects on the global market. The hot weather has caused an early start to the Egyptian grape season, but has also delayed and damaged the production in Italy, delaying this season and leaving a gap between these usually overlapping production, which is not necessarily an issue for the export countries such as the Netherlands and the UK, who are experiencing good prices on the market. Meanwhile, in South Africa, the rains experienced here severely affected the grape production, with some saying the past season was the most difficult in decades. The ongoing pandemic also continues to cause problems, with its effect being felt most notably in Australia, where growers are struggling with both labour and logistical issues.
Netherlands: Good grape market, not too much supply and good prices
Grape sales have been going well in the Netherlands in recent weeks. “The Italian season started with quite high prices, as is tradition, but now we are at a somewhat more stable level,” says a Dutch importer. “Sales continue to be good. We are not oversupplied and therefore we can continue to sell well. The relatively cool weather undoubtedly contributes to this. The price of Italian grapes is around 2.20 Euro for Victoria and Black Magic, and the red grapes with seeds (Red Magic/Red Globe) are also doing remarkably well, with prices around EUR 2.60.
UK: Late start to Spanish grape season
The Spanish grape season is running 7-10 days behind in the UK this year, with supply just starting. There is some new Spanish fruit on the market but it is mainly destined for retailers due the higher price. There are still Chilean and Egyptian grapes on the market. The prices vary from between £5-£12, the lowest being for Chilean fruit and the highest for the new Spanish grapes.
Italy: Sky-high temperatures severely affect quality of grapes
In Sicily, temperatures reached peaks of up to 46 °C, for a few consecutive days, and never fell below 40-42 °C in the middle of the day: a heat that combined with hot winds to generate Foehn. The conditions were aggravated by night-time temperatures that have not dropped below 28 °C for days, contributing significantly to the deterioration of the table grapes on the vine. “The fruit on the young plants, especially the red grapes, suffered 70 per cent loss, but in the adult vineyards we were able to harvest a good part of the product.
Spain: Late start to Spanish grape harvest
The Spanish table grapes campaign has just started in the early zones of the Region of Murcia and Almería. The harvest starts late this year and with the exception of some losses in early varieties such as Sugraone, a good quality production is expected. At the same time that Spain has a late start of its season, Egypt is having an early ending of its campaign. Normally, the first Spanish table grape tends to overlap with the last phase of the Egyptian campaign and even with those of India, sometimes. But this year, the consequences of the pandemic on logistics and the still noticeable effects of the incident in the Suez Canal with the Evergreen have also caused long delays in the arrivals of Egyptian grapes. Therefore, Spanish grapes are clashing less with this origin and the market is more open.