Good sizing, quality forecast for Mexican grapesHERMOSILLO, Mexico — Mexican grape producers estimate they will ship 17 million 19-pound boxes of grapes to the U.S. this season.   

The crop estimate — announced April 26 during the annual Sonora Spring Summit — is a hair bigger than 2012’s 16.9 million boxes, said Juan Laborin, general manager of AALPUM, the Mexican table grape producers association.

Cooler weather has brought strong growth to vines and fruit alike, but it also means harvest will begin five to seven days later than normal, said Alan Aguirre, director of grape grower Grupo Alta and president of AALPUM.

“It looks like we are going to have very good size grapes, very firm, Aguirre said.

Perlettes will hit promotable volumes May 20-26 and wind down by June 3-9, weighing in at 2.5 million boxes, down slightly from 2012’s 2.7 million boxes.

Flames are forecast to reach 7.2 million crates, off last season’s haul of 7.7 million.

Promotable volumes will gear up May 27 to June 2 and trail off by the end of June.

Sugraones are getting their stride back after cold weather several seasons ago led to lighter harvests the past couple seasons, said John Pandol, special projects director for Pandol Bros., Delano, Calif.

They’ll total 4.8 million boxes, up from 4.2 million last season, entering marketing channels June 10-16 and dropping off by early July.

Red globes will pack out at 900,000 cartons compared to 1 million the previous harvest.  

Other varieties (largely black seedless) will total 17 million boxes, an increase from 1.4 million a year ago. Promotable volumes will arrive June 3-9 before tapering off June 17-23.

Around 200 attendees were on hand for the April 25-26 event, Laborin said, which included tours of Grupo Alta, Carmel and Agricola Terramara vineyards north of Hermosillo.