New method for storing Sovereign Coronation grapes cuts costs, increases income for growers
Eating fresh, local Ontario grapes is a treat that could only be enjoyed for a short time every year – until recently. The Sovereign Coronation variety is the grape of choice for many growers since it can withstand the province’s cold weather, but the quality of the fruit deteriorates quickly after harvest.
More than 100 Ontario growers with over 770 acres of vineyards produce 82 per cent of all the table grapes grown in Canada.
Sovereign Coronation is the main variety of fresh market grapes grown in Ontario. They are blue-skinned and seedless and were introduced to the province in 2000.
Traditionally they could be stored for only about two weeks before mold and brown spots rendered more than six per cent of grape yield unmarketable per year. The grapes were also getting crowded out of the market by other fruits available at this time of the year, resulting in significant income losses for growers.
Researchers at Vineland were asked to find ways to extend the storage life of these grapes to decrease growers’ losses, maintain the value of their crops and reduce food waste.