Giumarra Vineyards' Randy Giumarra Talks California Table Grape Season
BAKERSFIELD, CA - California table grapes are continuing to thrive as the state powers through this landmark season for quality, sizing, and volume. I recently had the chance to speak with Randy Giumarra, Vice President of Sales, Giumarra Vineyards, to learn a bit more about the state of the season.
“Based on estimated numbers, we’ve only just passed the halfway mark on the harvest at Giumarra Vineyards, so we have a significant number of boxes left to harvest,” Randy tells me, before detailing the varieties being harvested. “We have quite the selection right now. We’re picking some ARRA 15 Sweeties, ARRA 32 Mystic Dream, Muscato Amoré Sweet Scarlets, Honeybunch Diamond Scarlet Royals, Autumn Royals, and some huge Red Globes.”
Suffice it to say, Giumarra Vineyards has a variety to fill every need for the mid- and late-season programs.
As we talk about varieties, I ask Randy to fill me in on how the season is in terms of quality, and he’s more than happy to oblige.
“In all honesty, this is a banner year for California table grapes. We have everything you’re looking for in the fruit—a huge crop, big size bunches and berries, and high brix, which leads to great eating quality. Retailers should have them in the front of the produce department all the way through December—they should jump off the shelves into shopping carts!” Randy says.
With 20 percent higher volume anticipated over last year, Randy goes on to explain the state of the market to me, and how retailers can take advantage of this uptick in volume.
“There is no doubt that movement has started picking up here recently, but the table grape industry as whole has some ground to make up,” he says. “Prices are definitely in the promotable range! The talk in recent years has been about new varieties that are better eating, have better yield, and are easier to grow. I feel like we’ve received strong support because of our new variety product mix but also because of the way we harvest our fruit with a heavy emphasis on flavor-profile. It’s pretty straight forward—if you give the consumer a great eating experience, chances are they’re going to come back to the same store and buy another bag and another bag, until it becomes a habit to pick up grapes every time they go shopping.”
In addition to sharing the current state of the grape market, Randy also wished to speak about tariffs and trade.
“I know I speak for most farmers of all commodities when I say we would like to see a resolution to the trade disputes. Between the tariffs levied on our products and the animosity it has created with some government officials in specific countries, there is no doubt that prices and—to a lesser degree, volume—has been affected in certain regions. The sooner there is a fair agreement for all countries involved, the better,” he concludes.
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