(May 30) Movement of high-quality California and Mexican grapes is brisk, grower-shippers and industry officials said.

The California grape crop is expected to be about 90 million boxes, 10 million more than a year ago, said Barry Bedwell, president of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, Fresno.

Favorable weather was yielding high-quality product out of the Coachella Valley, Bedwell reported.

“There was a very good period in the spring where there was a lack of rain for an even, extended bloom,” he said. “Overall, quality is very good and consistent.”

Bedwell also reported good movement out of the Coachella Valley in late May. Grower-shippers are less happy, however, about a looming labor shortage, he said.

Exacerbating the situation is the fact that many California crops that were short last year are normal-sized or bigger this year, thus requiring more workers, Bedwell said.

“The trend continues to be for a declining labor supply overall,” he said.

Crown Jewels Marketing & Distribution LLC, Fresno, Calif., was set to wrap up its Mexican perlette deal in the first week of June and begin importing sugraones from south of the border, said Atomic Torosian, partner. The company’s red globe season from Mexico was expected to begin about June 31.

After some sluggish markets early in the Mexican deal, things are up and running now, Torosian said.

“We got off to a bit of a slow start with flames, but now we’re hitting our stride,” he said. “Movement has been very good.”

Crown Jewels reported good sizing and excellent quality in late May, Torosian said. This year, the company’s Caborca, Mexico, deal will overlap for ten days to two weeks with its Arvin, Calif., deal, he said. Harvest in Arvin is expected to begin June 25 or June 26, Torosian said.

“We’ve heard Arvin could begin about 10 days early,” he said.