“Proprietary branded varieties help set growers apart,” he said, citing black seedless varieties’ (such as Bakersfield, Calif.-based Sun World’s Midnight Beauty) rise from 2% to 9% of the U.S. market in recent years.
Black grapes have enjoyed a 50% growth rate in Sonora over the past season. New proprietary grape varieties make up 1% to 2% of Mexico’s volume, Marguleas said.
Among U.S. export partners, 1% to 2% of Chile’s crop and a little more than a quarter of South Africa’s crop is new proprietary varieties, he said. California leads the pack at 28%.
Long lines leading to the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz., have been a concern for years for fresh produce importers, and the threat of so-called sequestration federal budgetary cuts caused concern among importers.
So far, their fears have proved unfounded, and inspection staffing at the port has avoided furloughs.
Port director Guadalupe Ramirez told grape summit attendees the sequester debate might even turn out to be a good thing.
“I think the sequestration has brought a lot of focus on having more people in blue uniforms,” he said, referring to funding for blue-uniformed inspectors as opposed to green-uniformed Border Patrol agents.