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Anthony Vineyards expands facility

To better serve its customers and handle its increasing volume, Anthony Vineyards is in the process of expanding its Bakersfield, CA, facility, adding cooling and pre-cooling capacity and a new packingline.

Sales Manager John Harley said the new construction is expected to be completed by the end of July, not too long after grape production shifts from the Coachella Valley to the San Joaquin Valley. Harley was speaking from Coachella in late May as that district was entering its peak volume period. He said both supplies and the market were stronger than expected with red seedless trading in the mid-$20s and greed seedless commanding prices in the mid-$30s. He expects the marketing conditions for Coachella to remain strong through June as the San Joaquin Valley production is behind last year’s schedule.

“Last year, most shippers started in the June 19-21 time frame,” he said. “This year the San Joaquin Valley deal is running late. It looks like we will start around July 1.”

Harley said that should set up a very good end-of-the-season run for Coachella as it will get the advantage of the typical increased pull for the Fourth of July holiday before the Arvin district in the southern San Joaquin Valley hits its stride. Adding to the expected strong marketing position for some of the varieties, the Anthony Vineyards expert said while the Flame Seedless have a normal crop the green seedless are a little light. A strong marketing situation should ensue through the end of June.

Of course, he noted that there is far more volume coming from Mexico in June, as that district’s total volume is the 19-20 million carton arena while Coachella will probably produce fewer than six million cartons this year. So toward the middle to end of the June, there most likely will be a dip in the grape market and promotable pricing as Mexico’s volume increase

Anthony has a very strong presence in the organic side of the grape business and Harley said it will be toward the end of July when there is promotable volume of that sector from the San Joaquin Valley. When the harvest shifts to the San Joaquin Valley, retailers also get a one-pound bonus of fruit. Because of a federal marketing order that is always suspended after the desert deal ends, Coachella Valley packs 18 pounds of fruit per carton while further north 19 pounds are put in the carton.