The final figures are in for the 2010 California table grape crop and reveal the industry flirted with a 100 million carton year.

Grower-shippers sold more than 98 million cartons of grapes in 2010, according to the Fresno-based California Table Grape Commission, a 7% increase over the 2009 deal.

“With increased volume from new plantings, we expect that the industry will top 100 million boxes in the near future,” Kathleen Nave, president of the commission, said in a news release. “With consumers all over the world increasingly interested in healthy eating, grapes from California are well positioned as both a flavorful and healthy choice.”

The total value of the 2010 crop was $1.3 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“For consumers in the U.S., California grapes are their local grapes,” Nave said. “That is one of the reasons that 99% of the shoppers in the U.S. prefer grapes from California over those from any other source.”

The global market also played a significant role last year. More than 37 million cartons of California table grapes — 38% of the volume — were exported to more than 60 countries, and offshore sales accounted for nearly $620 million, according to the release.

Late-season varieties are becoming increasingly important to the industry and consumers. The California season begins in May, but the commission’s statistics indicate that 45% of the 2010 volume was shipped October through December.

Overall, crimsons were the top-selling variety, accounting for 20% of the volume, followed by flames, red globes and thompson seedless.