Anthony Vineyards Inc. in Bakersfield, CA, which grows grapes in the Coachella Valley of California, the earliest district in the state, and also in the southern San Joaquin Valley, expects to begin the transition from the desert deal in Coachella into the San Joaquin Valley deal in late June this year, according to John Harley, vice president of sales and marketing.
The company expects overlap between the two deals, due to the grapes in Coachella running later than usual and an anticipated earlier-than-usual start in the San Joaquin Valley.
The San Joaquin Valley harvest will start with the Flame seedless variety in late June, followed shortly by Sugraones.
Anthony Vineyards could still be shipping Flames and Sugraones from Coachella when the Flame seedless and Sugraones start in the earliest vineyards in the San Joaquin Valley, he said. “I don’t think the Flame deal is necessarily all that early in the San Joaquin Valley, but I do think the Sugraone deal is,” Harley said. Last year, the Sugraones started around July 8. He expects them to start about a week earlier this year.
Also continuing to ship from Coachella after the start of the harvest in the San Joaquin Valley will be Scarlet Royals, he said. “We have planted more Scarlet Royals in the desert, which come off in that transition period between the latter part of June and the front part of July.” About 60 percent of that will be organic.
Anthony Vineyards will continue shipping grapes from its ranches in the southern San Joaquin Valley throughout the summer and fall and into early winter. The company has close to 500 acres of new vineyards planted, but most of those are fall varieties to be harvested mainly in September and October, Harley said. For the early part of the deal in the San Joaquin Valley, the company’s program “hasn’t really changed,” he said. “Our July program is pretty stable. Most of our increase is in the fall.”
The company does have some young acreage that will be in production for the early season this year, both in organic and conventional grapes. “But a lot of that has been rotation of vineyards — taking out older vineyards and replacing them with younger vineyards. So the tonnage will be pretty much the same.”
When The Produce News talked to Harley, he and some other members of the company’s sales team were in the desert selling the Coachella deal. “We are anticipating to relocate from the desert the first week of July,” he said. “We will be up there after the Fourth of July for sure.”
While there are no new people on sales at Anthony Vineyards this year, that is expected to change in future seasons. “With the addition of the new acreage coming on, in a year or two we are going to be looking to change that, probably,” Harley said.
Also in anticipation of volume growth in coming seasons, the company has expanded its facility and office space, he said.