Anthony Vineyards' John Harley Discusses Coachella Grape Season and New Varieties
- by Jessica Donnel
BAKERSFIELD, CA - Anthony Vineyard’s Coachella Valley grape season is already in full swing after starting in early May, with Flame, Black Beauty, Summer Royal, and Sugraone grapes packed and primed to hit consumer tastebuds. With organics on the rise and a strong start to the market, Sales Manager John Harley joins me to give the low down on what’s in store for this Coachella season and beyond.
“The quality this year in Coachella looks very nice. Both berry size and bunch size are good on all varieties, and as we move away from the unseasonably cool weather in the region, quality should do nothing but improve,” John tells me. “While our overall volume should stay the same, we are shifting from conventional grown grapes towards more organically grown grapes on all varieties.”
John tells me that a focus on organics is a key part of the Anthony Vineyards program this season, adding new varieties and increasing its volumes. “I think the number one difference between Anthony Vineyards and other grape providers is our consistency in our product and the growth in our organic program,” John explains.
Organic and conventional Flame, Black Beauty, Summer Royal, and Sugraone varieties are all being harvested now in Coachella, and John tells me when can expect that to continue for the next four to five weeks. Cooler weather in the 70s and 80s, whereas the region normally sees temperatures in the low 100s, has made volumes a little slimmer in the first few months of harvest, but John expects this to even back out to normal as the weeks go on.
“Prices have started off a little higher than normal due to weather and a lack of grapes in the market, but we expect those prices to adjust as the volume of grapes being harvested increases,” John adds. “The Chilean import deal ended early this year, making the current market very strong. Plus, I think the consumer is ready for fresh grapes.”
And fresh grapes the consumer will have! Anthony Vineyards is able to load high-quality grapes, both organic and conventional, at its own facilities in Coachella and Bakersfield. Not to mention the company is able to do so now through the end of December.
As we discussed with John earlier this year, Anthony Vineyards has initiated a marketing and distribution agreement with International Fruit Genetics (IFG), both expanding its offerings and strategically positioning itself for further diversification.
“Once we get started harvesting in the San Joaquin Valley, we’ll have some of our new premier varieties that are offered by IFG, such as the Sweet Sapphire®, the Jack Salute®, Sweet Globe®, and Sweet Jubilee®. These varieties are very sweet with a great taste profile, so we are very excited about the potential of these varieties.”
All varieties present high-flavor profiles to respond to the retail demand for both quality and a better eating experience. The four new varieties for 2017 will be available during the middle to end of July and the first part of August, and will be harvested through October.
As the company continues to gear up for growth across its entire grape portfolio, us at AndNowUKnow look forward to more great things to come from Anthony Vineyards.