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Storage & Packaging
Once clipped, clusters are placed directly into vented bags or nesting lugs/bins for subsequent cooling and storage. Any defective berries should be removed to prevent leftover stems from spreading decay or disease.

Wine grapes can be shaken off vines onto tarps for processing. Some juicing varieties are picked individually and not by the bunch due to maturity. This can be true for Muscadine grapes as well, which grow in loose clusters with berries falling to the ground when ripe.

Grapes should be cooled and stored at 30 to 32°F with 90 to 95% relative humidity. As a low ethylene producer, grapes can be stored with other fruits and vegetables with the exception of those with strong odors like onions. Pouch bags and clamshells are the most prevalent packaging.

References: California Rare Fruit Growers, California Table Grape Commission, Cornell University, PennState Extension, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, University of Florida/IFAS Extension, University of Kentucky, USDA, Washington State University.

GRADES & GOOD ARRIVAL

Table grapes are classified into six grades: U.S. Extra Fancy, U.S. Extra Fancy Export, U.S. Fancy Table, U.S. Fancy Export, and U.S. No. 1 Institutional.

Fruit of all grades must meet basic requirements of being mature, firm, attached to the capstem, and not weak, shriveled, shattered, split, crushed, or wet.

For Extra Fancy and Fancy grades, bunches must be fairly well filled and not excessively tight for the variety; stems must be well developed, strong, free from mold, decay, and freezing or other damage. Berries should be free from decay, waterberry, sunburn, almeria spot, and any other damage. For U.S. No. 1 Table and U.S. No. 1 Institutional, grapes follow basic requirements but have more latitude regarding bunches, stems, berries, and size.


Generally speaking, the percentage of defects shown on a timely government inspection certificate should not exceed the percentage of allowable defects, provided: (1) transportation conditions were normal; (2) the USDA or CFIA inspection was timely; and (3) the entire lot was inspected.

AMERICAN

U.S. Grade Standards Days Since Shipment % of Defects Allowed Optimum Transit Temp. (?)
10-5-2 5
4
3
2
1
15-8-4
14-8-4
13-7-3
12-6-2
10-5-2
32°

EUROPEAN

U.S. Grade Standards Days Since Shipment % of Defects Allowed Optimum Transit Temp. (?)
12-4-1 5
4
3
2
1
15-6-3
14-6-3
13-5-2
13-5-1
12-4-1
31°

Canadian good arrival guidelines (unless otherwise noted) are broken down into five parts as follows: maximum percentage of defects, maximum percentage of permanent defects, maximum percentage for any single permanent defect, maximum percentage for any single condition defect, and maximum for decay. American destination guidelines are 15-10-5-10-4; European destination guidelines are 15-8-8-15-3.

References: DRC, PACA, USDA.

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