"Demand for Cotton Candy and Sweet Sapphire is phenomenal"
A new generation of grape varieties are all the rage at the moment. Everyone wants them, the problem is that they are so new most growers just don't have the volumes to keep everyone happy.
This is certainly true for Vince Natale from Superfruits. With 120 hectares in Robinvale, Victoria, they are growing the new varieties such as Cotton Candy, Sweet Sapphire, Sweet Celebration, Sugar Crisp and Sweet Globe as well as the 'traditional' varieties of grapes.
"The demand for the Cotton Candy and Sweet Sapphire grapes has been phenomenal," says Vince. "We grow the Cotton Candy in Victoria and this is the first harvest so volumes are still limited. We are trying different markets this season and prices are high as there is just not enough to satisfy the demand."
Superfruits supplies the Asian markets as well as the domestic, "We don't have the volumes of Cotton Candy for retailers as yet and we also want to set up other markets. In Australia they are mainly going to the boutique fruit shops."
The Cotton Candy grapes are available in 250g clams/lunch packs, 500g clams, bunch bags and loose packs.
Vince said that the Asian buyers are going crazy for the Cotton Candy this year, this is hardly surprising as we know that they have a tendency for the super sweet grapes.
The Australian season is running late this year and there has been talk of some Australians sending grapes to China too early, when they have not reached the proper brix levels. This practice jeopardises prices at the start of the season and can create a mistrust in the quality of Australian grapes. "These exporters and growers are trying to capitalise on the high prices in the early market. We are just trying to say to the Chinese buyers to look for the brand - and if its not sweet don't buy it. This affects all of us and it brings the prices down. I know that there is fruit which will land there on 10th March which is not right, its disappointing," said Vince.