From Vineyard to Customer: Best Practices For Storage and Handling
Grapes keep very well – up to two weeks – when stored and handled properly. Here are some tips to keep your grapes in the best condition possible.
*Store grapes immediately in refrigeration when received. The ideal condition for grapes is 30-32°F with 90-95% relative humidity.
*High-quality fresh grapes from California will have green, pliable stems and plump berries.
*When buying in volume, gently stack grape boxes in the cooler so that air can circulate around them.
*When stacking grape boxes remember to keep them off the ground as any excess moisture or dirty surface may cause damage to the grapes.
*Do not store grapes near the cooling unit’s direct air path to avoid accelerated dehydration.
*Never store or display grapes where they will come in direct contact with water, ice or iced products, as the moisture will decrease their shelf life.
*Like most berries, grapes tend to absorb odors. Try to avoid storing them next to green onions and leeks.
*Store grapes unwashed.
* Rinse grapes just before serving or adding to a recipe. The bloom should still be visible.
Grab 'n Go:
*Grapes in clamshells and other containers should always be refrigerated.
*When grapes are refrigerated, they can be displayed for up to 72 hours before visible shrink occurs.
Availability: May through January
Grapes from California are available nearly year-round, from May through January. The growing season is long, with two grape-growing regions that have hot, dry summers and falls, allowing the vineyards to bask in sunshine that develops full bunches of large, plump and sweet fruit. The harvest starts in the southernmost Coachella Valley and moves northward into the San Joaquin Valley, where grapes can be harvested into December.
For year-round menu needs, imported grapes from the Southern Hemisphere are available between January and April.