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Flames, Sugraones and Summer Royals are main varieties for Columbine through July

Columbine Vineyards in Delano, CA, which grows grapes in the San Joaquin Valley of California, both in the Arvin area and in Delano, expects a sizeable crop for the 2013 season.

“It is looking like a big year” with “lots of fruit, lots of bunches,” Sales Manager Anthony Stetson said in an interview with The Produce News. “It is too early to say on quality, but if everything comes to fruition, it will be a nice volume year.”

The company estimates a start date for the 2013 harvest near the end of June. For the early part of the season, from the start through the end of July, the varieties offered will be primarily Flame seedless, Sugraone green seedless and Summer Royal black seedless, with Thompsons starting toward the end of July, Stetson said.

“We will start picking Flames the 28th or 29th of June” if the estimated start date holds true. Sugraones will start “shortly thereafter,” he said.

The first grapes will come out of the Arvin district, but “we also have Flames up here in July,” he said. “We have both Delano and Arvin” in production for the early season.

The company has no new varieties and no new acreage during the early season this year. “We are planting more acreage for years to come, but it won’t be in production this year,” Stetson said.

At the start of the San Joaquin Valley deal, Stetson said, he expects some overlap with grapes from Mexico and California’s Coachella Valley this year, as the big volume from those districts was expected to be coming up in June. “Hopefully they get a lot of that moved here in the next month or so, so we don’t have too much competing product in those areas. With that being said, it is possible we could have a little bit of an overlap, which could affect pricing.”

However, Columbine and other producers in the San Joaquin Valley “should be in better supply and better quality for July than what is going to be left down in the desert,” he said.

This year, Columbine will be packing some of its grapes again in “the stand-up bag, which we did a little bit last year,” Stetson said. “We will have that available for all varieties.”

The company also has a redesigned bag logo for its “Columbine” brand, which he said is “a little more modern” than the previous logo.