Strong demand in the first half of January for Chilean grapes was not the result of the freezes, Leichter said.
“Independent of that, there’s good demand for grapes in the winter months,” he said. “There are good, promotable volumes.”
Freeze damage should increase demand for Chilean grapes, particularly those varieties hardest hit, said Chris DeSana, grape commodity manager for Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet International.
“We expect strong demand throughout, especially for green seedless, as they were most affected by the frost.”
While it’s still too early to gauge the full extent of damage from the September freezes, DeSana is cautiously optimistic heading into the shipping season from the hardest-hit districts.
“We’ve just started to pack in the regions most affected by the frost,” he said Jan. 7. “First impression is that the sugraones may have more damage than originally estimated, but there is still enough volume to promote.”