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Top Brass expects typical SJV grape season

As other grape shippers were getting ready to transition from one production area to the next, Top Brass Marketing Inc. was waiting for its grape year to begin as the firm is a San Joaquin Valley specialist.

TopBrass-AllisonTop Brass expects to have California grapes until mid-December.According to President Brett Dixon, the firm’s first grapes of the year will be shipped in the early to mid-July time frame, though in late May it was still too soon to put an exact date on the start. Top Brass will have California grapes for about five to six months, most likely ending in mid-December. The crew at the firm expects a fairly stable deal this year with total volume similar to 2016.

New to Top Brass is salesman Mike Torczon and more organic production than ever before. Dixon said the company has been increasing its organic acreage for a handful of years, but it is a long-term commitment as transitioning each block is typically a three-year process. Just because of the varietal makeup of the organic piece of the Top Brass puzzle, the firm’s production in that sector will start in mid-July and finish up sometime in late November. He said increasing demand for organic fresh produce is the driver behind the firm’s business plan to increase its organic acreage. Simply put, demand is growing faster than production gains.

Top Brass, which is headquartered in Bakersfield, CA, has its acreage in that general vicinity of the southern San Joaquin Valley. Dixon said that grape-growing corridor stretches from Arvin, at the southern end, to Delano. Speaking in late May, he said “so far so good” with regard to the quality and size of the grapes. California has had a relatively cool spring so production is running several weeks behind what occurred in the last two years. However, this year’s production schedule is not much different than historical averages.