In Uncategorized

Bon Report May 12th 2023

The Dan Bon Report

Carlos Bon
Vice President of Sales

Reporting straight from Guaymas, Divine Flavor/Grupo Alta’s earliest farm at Santa Lucia, Dan Bon gives an update on the start time of the Sonoran grape season while on a zoom call with Carlos.

After concluding a successful season in Jalisco at Don Mario, Divine Flavor will switch its attention to their farms in Sonora at Grupo Alta. Dan Bon, one of Grupo Alta’s main production engineers and who manages the Jalisco project for the company, mentions the season is delayed and all those waiting on fresh organic Sonoran fruit are going to need to wait a bit longer until production ramps up later in May and in the first weeks of June.

Carlos mentions that we cannot control nature and that you sometimes must play the cards that have been delt. “It will be important to have very good communication these next few weeks,” says Carlos. “Of course, things can change, but it will be important to provide as many updates over the course of the next 2-3 weeks.”

By now, the industry knows Sonora is late, but a big question which keeps popping up is why the season is delayed. Dan mentions this season is probably the latest start time he’s ever seen in his short experience (though he’s been working in the grape industry for more than 15 years).

“The explanation why we’re late is basic,” says Dan. “The climate was different this year and something out of our control. Though sometimes these elements are out of our control, we will try to influence our plants and reduce the delay, and we are doing that now. The weather was extremely cold this year and we didn’t get the warm weather we normally do in April, but the good news is that we will be getting some heat waves in the coming weeks, and this should have a positive effect moving forward.”

Dan also notes that colder weather doesn’t always have a negative effect on the production and in terms of quality, the cooler winters generally preserve the plants and allows the grapes to ripen in a way that produces good quality, but more importantly, it will extend the season.

In terms of outlook for the season, Dan anticipates the grape season will still have excellent fruit once harvest begins. “We had a good and natural thinning process recently, and we expect to have good sizing and firm grapes. The finished product will be great, and you will see this in the stores.”

For the next couple of weeks…

Early greens- light volume the week of the 15th

Mid volumes the following week on early greens (thanks to extra planting in the early vineyard in Guaymas)

Reds- early reds probably won’t start until the week of the 29th (Dan says berry softening just started and some color is coming out). Volume will be low to start but will ramp up further into June.

Late varieties- these will be delayed, and it will be a slightly late season, but not as much compared to the early varieties (Dan says the delay will be half of what the early varieties are which is about 6-8 days)- late varieties include Sweet Globe, Sweet Celebration, Cotton Candy, and some Timpson.

During the zoom call, Dan is seen walking down a line of Cotton Candy grapes. He says the clusters are forming well and the grapes are starting to soften. Carlos jokingly asks if he can smell the Cotton Candy scent (something a lot of people are unaware of that Cotton Candy grapes actually produce a sweet aroma), but Dan mentions not yet. The harvest is still about 4-5 weeks away, but he’s optimistic it will be on the shorter end of that by the time they have reached peak flavor.

The call finishes with Carlos joking around with Dan that he will take a vacation before the season starts and he will need him to do the Bon report for the next couple of weeks until then. Dan told Carlos he should relax and start preparing for when the big volumes will start coming in June. Carlos states the team will be prepared and they will have great ads ready for the customers. He mentioned confidently that something he’s learned from his experience is that when you have good quality, good eating grapes, they are going to sell.

“We saw it in Jalisco. We tried to slow it down with high retail prices, but they don’t slow down,” says Carlos. “When you have good quality and good flavor, people will buy the grapes and they will come back for more.”

Until next week…