Cristóbal Díaz, commercial manager of Torremesa:

"The beginning of the table grape season was better than we had expected"

The Spanish table grape campaign is already underway after a very good start in the earliest regions, such as Andalusia. "At Torremesa, we started at the beginning of July. The beginning was very promising; in fact, better than we had expected. The markets in Europe showed an appetite for our grapes; for quality, for proximity", explains Cristóbal Díaz, commercial manager of this Cadiz-based company.

Cristóbal Díaz.

"The market had been a bit saturated with overseas grapes during the entire winter. The logistical problems and delays we have had during and after the pandemic are still there, and you have to remember that fruit doesn't exactly improve over time inside a container, so the quality of overseas grapes has been showing problems. So, when we arrived with good quality fruit, the markets took it very willingly. We have the advantage of offering fresh fruit which doesn't need to travel by ship, so we can harvest it riper and with better attributes in terms of flavor, aroma, texture and color."

Sweet Celebration grapes

"During August, the market situation is closer to normal, with more origins producing, but even now prices are around 15% higher than last year." The market appreciates a quality product and is paying more for it, even taking into account the increase in general inflation -which in July was 10.8%-, says Cristóbal. "But inflation in the agricultural sector is much higher, around 30%, so although we are selling for more expensive prices, the market is still not fully making up for the increase in costs we have faced", he says.

In addition to the popular Victoria variety, Torremesa produces mostly seedless table grapes, in line with market trends, focusing on varieties that stand out for their flavor, including the Sweet Celebration, Sweet Globe, Jack's Salute and Sweet Bond, and the special variety Candy Snaps, which has a sweet flavor with hints of strawberry.

Packaged Sweet Bond grapes

"We market our grapes in the Spanish domestic market, where they can be found in supermarkets such as Mercadona, and we also export them outside our borders. We ship to France, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom, working with both supermarket chains and traditional wholesale markets".

"We may have to increasingly consider varieties with greater resistance to climate change"
The commercial start of the table grape season has been perceived as good in this, once again, exceptional year, in which uncertainty has been a common factor for the entire agricultural industry, and in particular for fresh produce. In recent times, we have been forced to use this adjective, "exceptional", quite often, and the weather is one of the factors which, unfortunately, has forced us to do so.

"The campaign has been marked by the heat wave of July. Between July 6 and 16 we had about 10 days with very strong easterly winds, average temperatures above 34-35 degrees Celsius and a very low relative humidity (20%). The productions were affected by this, with volume losses caused by dehydration. In our area, between Rota and Chipiona, people do not remember anything alike."

"Regarding the dry weather, fortunately, we belong to the Northwest Coast. Our irrigation community still has water and its scarcity is not as big a problem as it is in the Guadalquivir basin; in fact, producers are coming to this area because they have no other alternative to continue cultivating. But if this situation continues, we will have problems. Let's hope that the spring will be rainier so that this problem can be solved."

"Perhaps, given the on-going changes in the climate, we will have to increasingly think about working with more resistant varieties. So far, we haven't paid any attention to this factor; we've focused on the fruit's flavor, shape and color and never taken into account resistance to extreme climates, but it may have to become part of our agenda."

For more information:
Carretera Munive, km. 7
11520 Rota, Cádiz, Spain
Apdo. Correos 231
11540 Sanlúcar de Bda, Spain
Tel.: +34 647 95 38 54

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