The frost of last autumn has had big consequences on Chilean grape export. “The volume of grapes will be 40% less,” explains Jan Marc Schulz of SFI Rotterdam, who received the first Chilean grapes last week. “The demand of Chilean grapes is high and the prices are on a great level, 1.60 Euro for red grapes and about 1.45 Euro for white grapes (500 grams), but that doesn’t make up for the losses due to lower volumes for growers.”
“Chilean grape production areas can be divided in three parts,” explains the importer. “In the northern areas of Chile, the grapes suffered from drought and several fields were not irrigated sufficiently. Aconcagua, irrigated quite well and the losses were small. Lastly, the area from Santiago towards the south has suffered the most due to the frost.”
“Europe isn’t the biggest market for Chilean exporters. The transition times to the United States are shorter and with a good demand on that market, it gets the preference. In problematic climatic years, you see less fruit from Chile towards Europe, due to the increasingly strict residue regulations of the German retail,” he said. SFI Rotterdam distributes the grapes through Europe with an accent on Germany and the Benelux countries.
“South Africa has had rain but has the advantage of a devalued Rand. Argentina was also struck by frost. The question is what India will do later on in the season. India could raise up the volumes,” said the importer. “Overall I expect normal supplies from Chile up to March.”
SFI Rotterdam sells most part of the pre-packaged grapes under
their own Brands, such as Topper, Sunred or Supreme, but they also work with loose grapes under the brands of well established clients. According to the importer, the trend is that Chilean exporters mainly try to set in on 8.2 kg boxes, that can be delivered worldwide and in the United States. “The quality of the white Thompson- and red Flame grapes which have already arrived is fine,” concludes Jan Marc.