2023 FRUIT HARVEST AND OUR GROWER COMMUNITY
Our Sunbeam dried fruit is created by growing specific varietals of vine fruit best suited for drying, and then allowing it to dry on the vine trellis under the warmth of the sun. When the time is right it is harvested, then transported to our Sunbeam facilities to be washed, graded and packaged for our customers to enjoy all year around.
Like other agricultural industries, our crops are subject to seasonal variations and are also susceptible to weather events that can impact the colour, quality, and availability of fruit from season to season.
Most of our Australian fruit is grown in vineyards of the Murray basin region of Victoria.
Below is an update on how our different crops are looking for 2023 and why things may look a little different at the shelf in the coming months.
2023 Harvest Update
In Australia, harvesting vine fruit begins from around mid-February for the coming year. In late 2022 and early 2023, the Murray basin region was significantly impacted by high levels of rainfall and riverine flooding that occurred across the area.
The wet weather and high river levels this year have impacted our crop supply volumes.
Australian Sultanas, Natural Sultanas, Sunmuscat and Jumbo Sultanas
As a result of the wet weather, the harvesting of fruit has been delayed slightly in 2023 (usually around March 2023) and there has been some impact to the availability of Australian Sultanas and other white grape-based varietals in the market.
Gordo Lexia grape and Waltham Cross varietals are the main fruit we use to produce our raisins, selected for their larger size and sweet, muscat flavour. Unique to Australia, these raisin crops have been significantly affected by the unusual weather events and as a result there are significant shortages of Raisins in the market to meet demand at this time.
The small, seedless grape, known as a Carina Currants, is unique to Australia and the mainstay of our currant supply. The fruit has been able to hold up through the seasonal ups and downs and is currently drying on the vine across the Murray area ready for harvest.
Our Grower Community
Our Sunbeam brand is built on our grower community, many of whom are families that have been growing dried fruit grapes for generations. Nearly every grower has had an impact this season and some have also battled flood waters that threatened their properties. The impact on their families and livelihood is varied but no grower has been left unimpacted.
At Sunbeam, we are focussed on supporting our growers through this difficult time by providing in-field viticultural advice to get their vines back to a healthy condition so that the vines can bounce back to full production next season.