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Portuguese grape season started a week early this year

The Portuguese grape season had a bit of an early start according to Susana Ferreira, marketing director of Portuguese grape exporter Vale da Rosa: “This year we’ve started the harvest season one week earlier than planned, with white grapes. Vale da Rosa is always the first to open the market of Portuguese grapes and this year was no exception. Therefore, the market started for us with a high demand from our clients. Since the foundation of the company, innovation has been one of our main focuses, and each new season we try to deliver more value to our clients. We’re always searching for new packaging solutions, testing new varieties, adapting ourselves to the volumes demanded by the market.”

Next to their market share on the domestic market, Vale De Rosa is also focusing on the markets abroad, FreshPlaza notes. Ferreira explains: “Right now, the demand in the Portuguese market, which is our most important market in terms of volume, has been higher than last year. On the other hand, we´ve started our export campaign with The Netherlands, Belgium and England two weeks ago and this week we are incorporating Poland in our routes. The varieties Midnight Beauty and Sweet Celebration are the stars in these markets so far.”

Export numbers are rapidly increasing for Vale Da Rosa, Ferreira states. This year, an increase of 40 per cent is expected for the export numbers: “This year, we expect to grow in exported volumes, since we’ve been working for several years positioning our brand abroad. We plan to export 40 per cent more than we did last year. By reconverting our vineyards from seeded to seedless and the diversity of our 27 varieties catalog has helped us to grow in these increasingly demanding markets and also has led us to expand our commercial calendar from July until December.”

Despite the weather causing the season to start a little early, according to Ferreira these conditions have not caused the quality of the grapes to drop. “We’ve had a winter that was less cold than normal and a warm spring, which led us to an earlier start this season. However, it hasn’t drastically affected the harvest or the quality of the grapes. The large amount of hours of sunshine have provided plenty of colour and good brix content in the grapes. Quality is always a challenge and our main goal. In term of prices, the beginning of the season has been quite promising. At least until now, things have been quite stable.”

“This year, we’ve launched a novelty in the market, of which we are very proud. The first heat-sealed packaging for table grapes, that doesn’t use fossil plastics, basically composed of a recyclable cardboard tray and a biodegradable and compostable film, without using adhesives or multi-material components. In this first year, this packaging is only available in Portugal, but we are optimistic that we’ll soon be able to bring it to other markets as well,” Ferreira concludes.

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