May 2018 - from

Coachella grape season about to start after delay
After a slight delay, the table grape season in Coachella is finally ready to begin. Sporadic weather is to blame for the delayed start, with growers mentioning that the frequent changes in conditions have somewhat confused the vines. As a result, portions of the crop are lighter than others, while overall fruit sizing is smaller than usual. It also means that early grape volumes will be lighter. 

"This year's Coachella season is a little bit later than normal," said Rob Spinelli. "We are expected to start early next week with our conventional Sugarone greens and red flames. Some growers have already started but we're seeing a lot of smaller sized fruit than normal. Because of the sporadic weather, the fruit set is also varied in different spots, with some more advanced than others. Early season grapes look to be lighter in volume, but as we get to our later vineyards in Coachella, it looks to be a more normal yield."


Later start good in context
The later start is set to benefit growers, as it will present a chance to clear out any remaining stock from Chile. This pattern is also set to continue throughout the California season, with each region predicted to start a little later than usual. 

"This will help clear out some of the Chilean crimsons, meaning that we won't be overloaded with stock once volume increases in California," Spinelli observed. "Therefore, we expect to have a smooth transition. The front end of the Mexico deal has also been light and we expect demand, particularly for greens, will be strong."

"Organic reds will start up at the end of next week, followed by greens and blacks during the week of May 21," he added. "It looks like the San Joaquin Valley will also be starting later than it has in the last five years, towards the end of June or early July. This can also be attributed to the hot and cold weather during the past few months. A start date at the end of June or early July is actually closer to the long term average for this region."

Sugarone grapes

Newer varieties to bring different profile
Anthony Vineyards will be launching a few new varieties this season. The IFG varieties will appear later in the season and will stretch for the bulk of the California season. According to Spinelli, these grape varieties have a sweeter flavor profile, quite distinct from traditional varieties.

"Starting July, Anthony Vineyards will see some of the new IFG varieties beginning," he shared. "This includes the Candy Dream and Funny Fingers. Both are black varieties, with the Funny Fingers being elongated. We also have Candy Hearts which is a red variety harvesting into August. These are very sweet grapes and are a category of their own with a different flavor profile. From early August to the end of October, we will also have the Sweet Sapphire available."