The weather in Central Valley is still in the triple digits (100+ Fahrenheit / 37+ Celsius) with warm days and warm nights. These high temperatures are keeping several different varieties from developing color. In addition, most packers are only able to pick grapes for maximum 6 hours per day instead of the usual 8-9 hours. All of these factors combined are keeping supplies limited on some varieties. In general, we are seeing a shorter shelf life due to heat, poor water quality and overall lack of water. It is possible our season will finish up earlier than usual. Some packers are estimating that the overall crop size will pack out at 10% shorter than they originally anticipated. Smaller fruit and smaller bunch size takes more fruit to fill a carton, hence less total volume.
It is important to note that the overall berry size on ALL varieties is slightly smaller and more mixed this season. The reason is partially due to the hot weather as well as our overall state wide water shortage.
Scarlet Royal – there is still good availability on Scarlet Royals. Overall, color is still very good and brix levels range on 22-26 depending on the growing area. Many packers are picking Scarlet Royals and putting these in storage for late season supply. Most packers will be finished packing these by the end of September.
Crimson Seedless – There is good availability on Crimson Seedless but we are starting to see mixed color on much of this fruit. Color ranges from medium red to light color which is typical for this variety. Brix levels are excellent ranging from 21-24.
Vintage Seedless- there is still very limited supply availability. This is partially due to small amount of fruit that is ready for production. Those packers that are able to harvest fruit this season are fighting color.
Autumn Royal – we are starting to see more availability on this variety as packers are starting to pick more fruit. Color is still a big problem as much of the fruit is still not full color. Regardless, packers are starting to pick as the brix levels are increasing and if they get too high, this variety will shatter. Most of the fruit that is available has about 85%-90% full black color.
Autumn Kings – This is one of last green seedless varieties available this season. Overall these have good berry size, good color and they eat well. The brix is averaging 18-19 depending on the growing area. So far, we are seeing little to no shatter on this variety.
Luisco Green Seedless - These are also a late season green seedless variety which are available now in limited volume. They are sweet and crunchy with a presence of shatter. At this time the brix is averaging 17 and this will continue to increase. The higher the brix the more likely the berries will show signs of slight russetting which we refer to as sugar spots. This is when they are at their sweetest.
Red Globes – there is still quite a bit or Red Globes that still need to be picked but they are waiting for color. We are still seeing good condition fruit with nice meaty berries. Red Globes are eating very well this year.