From the Modesto Bee:
San Joaquin Valley grape growers are in the midst of a rare price war this season.
Wineries, thirsty for white grapes, are paying the most ever for Thompson grapes.
And raisin packers, responding to growing consumer demand, have upped the ante with the highest price ever paid for Thompsons — the premium grape for making raisins.
The two sides of the market have caused demand for Thompsons to nearly double.
Recently, at least two of the raisin industry's 13 packers increased the minimum per-ton price for raisins from $1,500 to a record $1,700. Prices for raisins have hovered above $1,000 a ton for several years.
All of the region's major wineries bumped their July per-ton price $15 to $265. Wineries generally have paid $155 to $210 a ton in the past several years.
This year, demand for Thompson grapes is expected to swell to about 450,000 to 500,000 tons, up from 273,000 in 2010, said Nat DiBuduo, president of the Fresno-based Allied Grape Growers, a farmers' cooperative.